From acclaimed two-time Academy Award Nominated director Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow-up, The Passenger)! Paola (Lucia Bose) is the beautiful and jealously-guarded younger wife of a shady factory owner, Enrico Fontana (Massimo Girotti). In order to investigate her romantic history he hires a private detective, which ironically brings Paola back into contact with former lover Guido, with whom she resurrects a lost passion. Dogged by the suspicions of their respective mates, they are drawn closer to each other in the face of adversity, and begin to plot Enrico's demise. But when the challenge of being together falls away, will the passion start to wane?
Before becoming the poster child for the extreme arty, slow paced foreign films of the '60s, Michealanglo Antonioni actually developed his craft on very straightforward, neo-realistic films. Story of a Love Affair
(1950) was Antonioni's first feature-length dramatic film, and much to his critics' chagrin, it is extremely linear, it has limited drawn out, "real time" shots, and his actors actually project more emotion than the typical "Antonioni apathy." Enrico (Ferdinando Sarmi) is an extremely wealthy and jealous husband who suspects his young, beautiful bride, Paola (Lucia Bosé), is unfaithful. Instead of confronting her directly, he hires a private detective (Gino Rossi) to investigate her past. While checking up on the mysterious death of Paola's friend, the private dick indirectly puts one of Paola's old lovers (Massimo Girotti) back in contact with his client's wife. Though originally separated due to the death of their close friend, seeing each other sparks up some buried passion that ironically will put Enrico and Paola's marriage to the test. Like his contemporaries' earlier works, Story of a Love Affair
is a must for cinephiles who love to see all those "Antonioni-style" trademarks in their infancy. Of particular note is the typical Antonioni shot, in which where the two main characters have a full conversation with their backs to the camera. Though Story of a Love Affair
does not pack the historical punch of L'Avventura
or Blow Up
, it is definitely more approachable for the general public and an excellent neo-realistic film in its own right. --Rob Bracco
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