Antonioni's Il grido

Il grido (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1957)

Known for his films from 1960 (L'avventura) to his death in 2007, Michelangelo Antonioni is a deep meaningful italian director. For many his artistic peak was L'avventura or Red Desert, personnally Blow-Up is his best offer. But as a true cinephile I must admit that his pre-L'avventura work is worth a look and it even announces his masterpiece period.

Il grido is the story of a man, Aldo, rejected by Irma a woman recently widowed. He begins a new empty life with his daughter trying to fulfill his lost love with the meeting of many women. This is a film that carries the main themes of Antonioni's filmography: the failure of communication, the emptiness of a broken heart, and pessimism. That's right, Antonioni made many films on that subject and I think the tragic ending of Il grido explains easily the pessimism of Antonioni's oeuvre. I also observed that intentionnally Antonioni put a poster of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid, this may be a reinterpretation of those themes or elements by Michelangelo Antonioni...

Like the rest his entire work, the photography of Il grido is memorable and every frame is near perfect. The mise-en-shot is characteristic from Italian cinema and gives lot of exposure to the tragic scenery. However, the presentation is nice but the content and the story is so cold that we hardly get into the story and get involve with the characters. His 1960 offer, L'avventura is more fulfilling and delivers a better plot.

Far from calling Il grido a masterpiece, I think it is a film worth a look expescially for those who love Italian Cinema and Antonioni.

A review by Michaël Parent

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