Tag Archives: La Notte (Antonioni)


Lee Chang-dong was in town last month for celebratory, sold-out screenings of BURNING, his trenchant epic of dislocation and revenge—and the writer-director’s first film in eight years.

Greatly expanding on his original source material—Haruki Murakami’s ambiguous short story “Barn Burning”—Lee told an enthusiastic American Cinematheque crowd that “no matter what your age, race, class, or gender, a sense of rage is permeating the world today.” To frame this phenomenon, Lee has drawn from another tale of rage, William Faulkner’s story that shares a title with Murakami’s.

The exponent of the filmmaker’s concerns is Jong-su—an aimless, unpublished writer played with soulful veracity by Ah-in Yoo—who quickly attempts to establish a relationship with Haemi (Jong-seo Jun), a childhood acquaintance he runs into during one of his dead-end delivery jobs.

Added to the mix is a Delonesque character Ben (Steven Yeun)—rich and idle but for his habit of burning greenhouses—who insinuates himself into Jong-su and Haemi’s lives to deleterious effect.

(Indeed, a creeping shadow of Antonioni hangs over Lee’s film, and the performative mysteries of ethnic appropriation in La Notte and L’Eclisse are slyly referenced in BURNING’s masterful mise en scène.)


Through January 17.

Laemmle Glendale

207 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale.


With Lee Chang-dong and Justin Chang in conversation

Sunday, January 13, at 7:30.

Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Through December 13:

Monica Film Center

1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica.

NoHo 7

5240 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood.

Steven Yeun post-screening conversation at the recent New York Film Festival.

From top: Jong-seo Jun in BurningAh-in Yoo (left) and Steven Yeun (2); Lee Chang-dong (right) and Hirokazu Kore-eda, the writer-director of Shoplifters; Yoo. Image credit: Well Go USA Entertainment.


“I feel the need to express reality, but in terms which are not completely realist.” — Michelangelo Antonioni to Jean-Luc Godard, Cahiers du cinéma, November 1964.

Over the next two weeks at the Egyptian, the American Cinematheque will present Modernist Master—Michelangelo Antonioni, an extensive retrospective of the work of the Italian writer-director showcasing his key dramatic features, as well as a selection of shorts from throughout his career.

“Your work has proceeded, from moment to moment, in a movement of double vigilance, towards the contemporary world and towards yourself… You have lived through and treated the history of the last thirty years with subtlety, not as the matter of an artistic reflection or an ideological mission, but as a substance whose magnetism it was your task to capture from work to work.” — Roland Barthes, “Dear Antonioni,” 1980*

The series will open with BLOW-UP (1966), Antonioni’s celebrated look at Swinging London through the eyes of a fashion photographer—played by David Hemmings and largely based on David Bailey. The film co-stars Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, Verushka, Jane Birkin, and The Yardbirds.

“For you, content and form are equally historical… Strictly speaking, the artist—unlike the thinker—does not evolve; he scans, like a very sensitive instrument, the successive novelty with which his own history presents him… The artist, for his part, knows that the meaning of a thing is not its truth… Your work is not a fixed reflection, but an iridescent surface.” — Barthes, “Dear Antonioni”

The Monica Vitti tetralogy from the early sixties is here—L’AVVENTURA (1960), LA NOTTE (1961), L’ECLISSE (1962), and RED DESERT (1964)—and the closing-weekend double feature pairs THE PASSENGER—written by Peter Wollen, Mark Peploe, and Antonioni—and ZABRISKIE POINT, shot in Los Angeles and Death Valley.

“Your art consists in always leaving the road of meaning open and as if undecided—out of scrupulousness. In this respect you accomplish very precisely the task of the artist as our time requires it: neither dogmatic, nor empty of signification.” — Barthes, “Dear Antonioni”

The series—co-presented by Luce Cinecittà—also takes a deep dive into Antonioni’s early work—STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR (1950), I VINTI (1952, his three-part look at juvenile delinquency), LE AMICHE (1955), and IL GRIDO (1957), starring Stephen Cochran as Antonioni’s only working-class male protagonist.

A rare screening of the documentary CHUNG KUO—CHINA will close the retrospective.



Thursday, September 13, at 7:30 pm.


L’AVVENTURA, Friday, September 14, at 7:30 pm.



Saturday, September 15, at 7:30 pm.


L’ECLISSE, Sunday, September 16, at 7:30 pm.



Thursday, September 20, at 7:30 pm.



Friday, September 21, at 7:30 pm.



Saturday, September 22, at 7:30 pm.


CHUNG KUO—CHINA, Sunday, September 23, at 7:30.


Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

*“Cher Antonioni” is a commemorative speech given by Roland Barthes in 1980 in Bologna. It was subsequently published in Cahiers du cinéma 311 (May 1980), and translated into English by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith for his book L’Avventura.

From top: Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings in Blow-Up.

Stephen Cochran and Dorian Gray in Il Grido.

Monica Vitti and Michelangelo Antonioni at the Paris premiere of L’Avventura in 1960.

Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider in The Passenger.

Antonioni with Alain Delon (center) and Vitti on the set of L’Eclisse.


Through the end of the 1950s, the bourgeois protagonists of Michelangelo Antonioni’s films actively engaged their surroundings and maintained some sense of control.

Everything changed in 1960. The surroundings became monolithic and oppressive, and the world took notice as the great modernist director—in a series of films featuring Monica Vitti—cast an excoriating eye on the moral rot and entropy in contemporary Italian society.

After L’Avventura (1960) and before L’Eclisse (1962), Antonioni conjoined a triangle of great European stars—Vitti, Marcello Mastroianni, and Jeanne Moreau—for LA NOTTE (1961), dismissed by Pauline Kael as another “sick-soul-of-Europe” display, but praised by more thoughtful viewers as a feminist critique of capitalism.

Bring a sweater and a blanket for a night of LA NOTTE in The Underground Museum’s Purple Garden. This Film Foundation screening is part of a series—Purple Garden Cinema—curated by Kahlil Joseph.

LA NOTTE, Friday, September 15. Doors open at 8 pm. Free popcorn!!

THE UNDERGROUND MUSEUM, 3508 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles.


See:  benefitofthedoubt.miksimum.com/2010/10/searching-out-sick-soul-la-dolce-vita.html

From top: Jeanne Moreau (left) and Monica Vitti in La Notte; Vitti and Marcello Mastroianni; Vitti; La Notte opening title card; Mastroianni and Moreau, nightclub scene in La Notte. Image credits: Criterion.