Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

L'Eclisse (1962)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

L'Eclisse (1962, It.) (aka Eclipse)

In Michelangelo Antonioni's profound, slow-moving (with long periods of silence), highly-regarded romantic drama about doomed relationships - the third film in an "alienation" trilogy following L'Avventura (1960) and La Notte (1961); it was about the difficulty of finding love in a post-war modernistic, affluent and materialistic world:

  • the awkwardly-silent and tense opening sequence set at dawn, after a long night of quarreling, with only the humming sound of a rotating electric fan, during the predictable break-up between a disconnected couple - restless, alluring blonde translator Vittoria (Monica Vitti) and her older lover - obsessive intellectual writer Ricardo (Francisco Rabal)
  • the after-the-breakup scene at girlfriend Marta's (Mirella Ricciardi) apartment, a white Kenyan native, with a second friend Anita (Rosanna Rory), when Vittoria and Anita playfully dressed up as natives (Vittoria in blackface) and danced to a phonograph record playing African drum music - until Marta turned on the lights and expressed her uncomfortable offense at their play-acting: ("That's enough. Let's stop playing Negroes")
  • the main plot: the seductive Vittoria's next lover in Rome - ambitious, over-confident, suavely handsome, and materialistic stockbroker Piero (Alain Delon), first seen in a frenzied and frantic stock-market exchange buying and selling sequence
  • the auto-accident crash scene at a canal after Piero's convertible was stolen by a drunk and submerged - and as the car was hoisted by ropes out of the water the next day, the dead man's hand dangled over the car's door - a reminder of Vittoria and Piero's hands dangling over furniture during their courtship; Piero reacted emotionlessly and cared little for the deceased, but was only concerned about making money: "There aren't too many dents in it...I think I'll sell it. It's only got 5,000 miles. A little polish and it'll be like new"
  • the sequences of the difficult and ultimately meaningless, empty affair the couple experienced during their time together - often seen kissing each other through obstacles - a gate and a glass door: (she told him: "I wish I didn't love you, or that I loved you much more"), but never establishing real intimacy due to hidden, internal fears, indecisiveness, and anxiety
  • the haunting, sad, and despairing ending beginning when the two incompatible lovers pledged their love in Piero's apartment as she was about to leave, and agreed to meet later that evening: (Piero: "We'll see each other tomorrow and the day after tomorrow" Vittoria: "And the day after that, and the next" Piero: "And the day after that" Vittoria: "And tonight" Piero: "8:00 - the usual place"); they gave each other one last desperate hug before separating; both declined, however, to keep their rendezvous appointment at the street corner in her suburban neighborhood that evening - evidenced by the mostly vacant scenes displayed until the end of the film
  • in the closing seven-minute sequence - the camera was still present although the two main characters were absent - as city street scenes were revisited (in a dialogue-less montage), and various locales and objects that were once important to them were viewed - things that the lovers had observed or visited during the course of the plot - composed mostly of static images (the high-velocity hose in the park spraying water, a wooden slatted fence, a rusty and leaking barrel filled with rain water, a painted crosswalk and other abstract patterns created by various objects, the building construction site with metal scaffolding sticking out of the half-finished structure, a horse-drawn buggy, tree shadows on the pavement, trees blowing in the wind, a close-up of tree bark, a deserted roadway and the four-cornered intersection, water flowing down a drain, a few random bystanders staring off into space, a man exiting a bus and reading a newspaper with the headlines: "NUCLEAR ARMS RACE - A FRAGILE PEACE", a jet trail in the sky, and a blonde woman who turned to look back (a tease - wrongly presumed to be Vittoria)
Planned Rendezvous Between Lovers Unfulfilled
on Empty City Streets
  • the afternoon turned into evening, with twilight and then dark nighttime - with the camera's last, cold and tragic images of a streetlamp as darkness descended - the site of their failed date, and symbolic of the fate of their fading romance
The Final Images of a Streetlamp

(Monica Vitti)

(Francisco Rabal)

Vittoria's Break-Up With Ricardo

Dressing Up and Dancing Like African Natives

Rome Stock-Market Exchange

Vittoria With New Lover - Heartless Stockbroker Piero

Crashed Car Hoisted Up

Empty Affair Between Vittoria and Piero


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