1941-1950CrimeDramaItalyMichelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni – Cronaca di un amore AKA Story of a Love Affair (1950)

Paola is a young, beautiful woman married to a wealthy entrepreneur. She meets her former lover Guido after seven years, but their relationship is marked by tragic events.

Letterboxd reviews
★★★½ Watched by Noah Gibson-Baker 18 Jun 2021

‘Story of a Love Affair’ – sexy, self-aware, thriller fueled by the notion of eventual bliss. Really clever, simple techniques; overly blown out whites, purposeful lack of establishing shots pre-encounter(s), and backwards construction of 1 on 1 Paolo – Guido scenes, are used frequently, and without drawing attention to be reflective of the characters.

★★★★½ Watched by Edgar Cochran 19 Jul 2018

Very intrigued I became after beholding that two of the greatest Italian auteurs in cinema, Visconti and Antonioni, literally had the same plot concept as their debuts… the same concept, not the same thematic development. The Americana influence was strong worldwide, from Europe to Asia when it came to cinema (even Egypt), and Italy was no exception.

While I was contemplating this alternate (and very free) adaptation of James M. Cain’s story, patterns emerged and, shockingly, they seemed to be swapped among both auteurs. Visconti undeniably explored all social classes in Italian history, but his first works during the 40s belonged to the movement that was shaking the Italian nation as well as many others: Neorealism. The aristocracy would be first treated by him until 1954 with a contrast between their opulent lifestyle and their disgusting motives. Antonioni didn’t wait. Contrary to Ossessione (1943), Story of a Love Affair received (biased) criticisms as it was supposedly exalting the aristocracy against the struggles of the “lower” social classes. It is true that the approach towards crime in both films is exceedingly different. Visconti’s approach was Dostoyevskian, whereas this contemplated another possibility and, more concerned with bringing an “obvious” sense of justice”, it courageously took a more dangerous path where irony can work in such a way that it leaves you miserable. “Be careful what you wish for” is a clichéd phrase by today’s standards, but it is so damn true.

The film is plagued with Americana film-noir influence and pays proper homage. Absolutely devoid of all “pretentiousness” and “self-indulgence” that Antonioni haters attributed to him during the 60s, this is his most accessible film, but also consistently gripping and suspenseful, with a conclusion that Hollywood very rarely would be capable of bringing along. Filthiness exists among all social classes; the film was misunderstood as glorification rather than condemnation.

Finally, I must also highlight the assured direction Antonioni displayed through confidence in the performances, pacing, the building-up of scenarios and situations, and the impressively high minutes/shots ratio. It was surprisingly dynamic. For becoming an auteur fully, it was just a matter of time before he found the inspiration and experience to portray stories that would finally delve deeply into the psychological, into unspoken alienation and emotional detachment.

For what it is worth, as a start, this is a great effort, less daring and ambitious than Visconti’s, but with a jazzy, refined style that displayed confidence.90/100

2.42GB | 1h 42m | 768×576 | mkv



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