Thursday, August 27, 2009

The best comment ever and L'AVVENTURA (98)

Perhaps you remember from a few days back, I wrote THIS little angry blurb about the state of internet in our fair country. The crippling, needy hands of the major corporations that have taken away a God-given right and colonized it in to cyber-secure web territories turning us, interweb lovers, against one another.

Because of the faceless nature of such corporations I thought my rant would spear in to the darkness of the interwebs, never to be seen again, just one more angry laser beam idly floating about out there.

That is, until I got this comment on said rant yesterday:

For of War? Hmnn... This is the first time I am hearing about that.

I am sorry for the trouble with your internet. I hope the coffee was at least good at the cafe!

I am sorry you had to go there to access the internet.
I work for Comcast. I'd like to help in getting the internet restored for you. Please send me the phone number on the account so that I can assist.

Mark Casem Comcast Corp.
National Customer Operations

WHAT!?! SAY HUH!?! I blindly thrust my sword in to the beast that is Comcast and what spills out but an actual response from a real person somehow unclogged from the tubes of corporate bureaucracy. And not just that, but a friendly, inquiring bit of correspondence actually seeking to help me with my problems.

Sadly, I've already dropped Comcast like a bad habit, but Mark, sweet Mark, I appreciate your kindness, your ability to step out from the shadow of Papa Comcast and try to help lil' old me with my internet woes.

L'Avventura (98) you are a film I could barely understand. I don't know if it's my natural aversion to recently deceased Italian master Michelangelo Antonioni, but I sat through this strange, slightly moving film last night, and came out of it shockingly confused to as what I'd just witnessed.

Here's a few of my addled thoughts on it:

1. Who is Monica Vitti?

This thought was first posited because I couldn't figure out which painfully attractive Italian woman was the world-famous Monica Vitti. The charming blonde or the snake-eyed brunette, both had leading lady looks, but neither jumped out as the star of the film. As the film progresses, and one lady goes missing, it becomes apparent, thus my second thought became "Who is Monica Vitti?" As in, how have I gone this long without perusing every film her gorgeous mug has ever graced? Lord knows.

2. Brown-haired lady = evil snake-eyes; blonde-haired lady = sweet and charming

Yup, I'm observant like that. Though, I truly think that the color of their hair becomes as important a symbol in this film as anything else.

3. I've seen this film before and I still can't remember what it's about.

This is probably because this is a confusing, long film and I probably spent most of my first perusal asleep or surfing the 'net. I've seen the film twice now and still probably can't tell you what happens between minute 30 and the two-hour mark. It's just that kind of movie.

4. Island = purgatory

This film revolves around a rich lady gone missing and the search for her and all the craziness that happens to her sister and former lover during that search. There's an island, a craggy rocky mess, where she disappears that becomes a sort of greying purgatory where her rich friends are stranded for the first hour. There's creepy shots of water and mountains and falling boulders. For some reason my stomach lurched a bit during the whole forty-five minutes spent on this rock. Maybe I have an aversion to rocky outposts.

5. Why do they care?

The lady that goes missing, Anna (Lea Massari), is pretty much a snake-eyed devil woman. She plays with the mind of both her friends and her lovers and as the movie progresses with her disappeared, we learn more and more how lame she always has been. But her absence creates the space in which these characters grow. With her gone, characters fall in love, her best friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) literally starts to fill her space, and the world teeters awkwardly on its emotional hinges. But in the end, things are changed, but still the same, and as Claudia and Sandro (Anna's lover played by Gabriele Ferzetti) sit on an empty bench staring blankly out at nothing, you wonder, is Anna's disappearance a catalyst for further change or just another flash in the pan.

6. Escape

The feeling I kept getting as I watched this film was that Anna was sort of a form of imprisonment for Claudia. That her presence kept her back, kept her in the shadows, forced her to the side, the lady always in waiting. But with her gone, Claudia not only has a chance to find herself, but to see how vastly she differs from the world she thought was hers. In her search for Anna, she discovers herself, and to some degree her love for Sandro, and starts the process of escaping from the grips of the society and familial trappings she's become such a part of. Sadly, though there are moments when Claudia does find absolute escape with Sandro, at the end of the film she's still racked with the fear of Anna's presence in both her and Sandro's life. And when she stumbles upon Sandro in the fervent embrace of a half-naked Anna-lookalike, it seems too much. Again, Sandro and Anna stare out from the bench, bereft of emotion, and you wonder, is Claudia's new found independence a fleeting thing?

Everytime I sit down and write about this film, I feel pretty good about it, but every time I've watched it I just feel confused. Damn you Italians!

Friday: A Inglourious Basterds/Saving Private Ryan double-feature!

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