Thursday, January 14, 2021

We Won't Die Together Hand-in-Hand

Viaggio in Italia (1955) - Rossellini Journey to Italy Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 3.11.50 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 3.20.23 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 3.38.58 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 3.55.05 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 3.55.41 AM The childless Joyces - Alex (George Sanders) and Katherine (Ingrid Bergman) are English couple travelling to Naples to settle some inheritance matter (Katherine's uncle Homer left them a villa). It is pretty obvious as the film progresses, their marriage is on the rocks: After 8 years of marriage, they don't know each other very well and find themselves uncomfortable when left alone only with each other. She hates his snobbery and self-absorption; he hates her jealousy and resentment. Reconciliation doesn't seem possible. 

While the estate matter is being settled, Alex leaves for Capri to unsuccessfully pursue an affair and Katherine remains in Naples visiting museums and archeological digs and thinking about that sickly young poet who stood outside her window in the rain. 

 Just like in Stromboli, the rugged, imposing background- active Mt. Vesuvius, which erupted only a few years before, reveals the chasm between the couple. 

There are a lot of driving shots. Rossellini emphasizes the couple's isolation and strict observers status as life happens outside the windshield of their car - Naples with its crowded streets, religious processions, livestock, a river of humanity on the other side of glass. 

While narratively weak and with the unconvincing ending, Viaggio in Italia is, as Deleuze points out in Cinema II, the prototype for what's to come - Antonioni's Urban ennui and isolation in L'Avventura and La Notte.