L'Eclisse (1962) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||1962|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Michelangelo Antonioni|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse concludes with a dialogue free sequence of images lasting over 7 minutes that so confused or bewildered some US exhibitors of the film that they cut the sequence out entirely. This is missing the point of the film, for this sequence encapsulates L’Eclisse perfectly for it is a film about disconnection, ennui, aimlessness and the meaningless of modern life.
As L’Eclisse commences Vittoria (Monica Vitti) has decided to terminate her relationship with her fiancé Riccardo (Francisco Rabal). Vittoria is bored and listless, unready for commitment; she is aimless and for the next hour of the film we follow her as she walks through the semi-deserted suburbs of Rome, takes a light plane flight with her friend Anita (Rossana Rory) and visits the chaotic and frantic stock exchange where her mother (Lilla Brignone) spends her time. After an hour of the film Vittoria meets stockbroker Piero (Alain Delon) and the two drift into a sparse, and rather meaningless, relationship. Life goes on.
L’Eclisse was the third film in Antonioni’s “Incommunicability Trilogy” or “Trilogy of Alienation” following L’Avventura (1960) and La Notte (1961), all of which featured Monica Vitti. L’Eclisse was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1962; it did not win but the film tied with The Trial of Joan of Arc for the Jury Special Prize (something similar happened with L’Avventura, which was also nominated, but lost, the Palme d’Or but won a tied Jury prize. Antonioni would, of course, win the Palme d’Or for Blowup in 1966).
In sync with its themes, L’Eclisse is a languid film where nothing much happens. It is a film of long, static takes with sparse dialogue and characters trapped within the frame of doors or windows, or partially hidden behind walls, or Vitti walking, isolated, in almost deserted streets and parks interspersed with long, loud, frenetic sequences within the stock exchange where the shouted calls and voices are so jumbled as to be meaningless. Individual people are there but there is little connection, a mood that the film captures effortlessly. Within this scenario Monica Vitti is the distant and listless blonde, beautiful but unconnected, sometimes seeming encouraging Delon’s more materialistic Piero, sometimes pushing him away, still afraid of connection.
L’Eclisse is not a film for those seeking action, or indeed as resolution. Like life, L’Eclisse is unpredictable, wandering and open ended.
L’Eclisse is in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and NTSC.
This is the last film Michelangelo Antonioni made in black and white. Detail is sharp and crisp, greyscales are good, blacks solid and shadow detail very good, brightness and contrast consistent. There are occasional small white marks but otherwise artefacts are absent. Film grain is present and pleasant.
English subtitles are provided in a cream text. They can be removed.
Audio is Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 256 Kbps. The film was released with mono audio at the theatre.
Dialogue is clear although on a couple of occasions a sentence or two faded or increased in volume. Effects such as high heels on tiled floors are crisp and sharp. This is a film with lots of silences and the music by Giovanni Fusco is used sparingly. Hiss and crackle is not present. Obviously there is no surround or subwoofer use.
Lip synchronisation looked to be occasionally off.
|Surround Channel Use|
Nothing. There is no menu, the programme starts when the DVD loads.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The US Region 1 Criterion DVD of L’Eclisse has a range of extras – see the DVDBeaver comparison here.
L’Eclisse is not for all tastes as it is filmmaking that all too accurately reflects the ennui and emotional disconnect of its characters. It is an art-house film, certainly not for those who require structure, narrative, plot or a conclusion, but it is very well regarded and currently boasts a critic’s score of 92% and an audience score of 90% on rottentomatoes.com. Monica Vitti is perfect and the film will reward those who are prepared to be patient.
The print is very good for a 55 year old film, the audio is the original mono. No extras.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|