Michelangelo AntonioniItaly122 minutes1961B&WItalian
"Antonioni's most rigorous film ... an ambiguous and desolate masterpiece" (Peter Cowie), La Notte maintains its power to shock audiences into a new kind of seeing, its compositions among the most striking in all of the director's films. Marcello Mastroianni plays an exhausted novelist coasting on his reputation, Jeanne Moreau his disenchanted wife who declares "I wish I didn't exist anymore." Opening with the couple's afternoon visit to a dying friend in hospital, the film, as the title suggests, follows the pair to the end of the night, from the wife's wandering through the deserted streets of Milan, to a party at the home of a millionaire industrialist (where Mastroianni encounters Antonioni's muse Monica Vitti as the host's smouldering daughter), to an al fresco reconciliation in the cold light of dawn, one of the most moving and erotic sequences in Antonioni's cinema. "A visually dazzling yet psychologically dislocating pageant of clashing architectural styles.... Antonioni captures vast currents of shifting power — whether sexual or cultural — in chilling and resonant details" (Richard Brody, The New Yorker).