Michelangelo AntonioniItaly110 minutes1950B&WItalian
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"One of the most perfectly and completely structured films in the entire history of cinema" (Nöel Burch), Michelangelo Antonioni's first feature is a film of astonishing formal beauty, and prefigures the thematic and stylistic preoccupations of Antonioni's later work. Like Visconti before him with Ossessione, Antonioni transposed James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice to a radically different setting: here, the swanky environs of fashion-conscious Milan, where an industrialist hires a detective to investigate the past of his glamorous wife (Lucia Bosè, exuding anguished elegance), and in so doing unwittingly reunites her with her high-school sweetheart (hunky Massimo Girotti, who also starred in Ossessione). Their passion enflamed anew, the two lovers conspire to kill the suspicious spouse. Semiotically sleek and impossibly chic, with its glistening succession of luxurious cars and boudoirs, Story of a Love Affair is "an amazing film, and one of the great feature debuts in movie history" (Jeffrey M. Anderson).