I liked how the melodramatic affair between two friends (his girlfriend is the one who disappears) is set against their friends who represent the disenchanted members of the idle upper-class. None of them becomes overwhelmingly upset or affected by Anna's disappearance and they even go so far as to scold themselves for making a joke of it. All the while the two lovers drive throughout Italy, their selfless motivations succumbing to their passion for each other, which kind of means Anna's return is unwanted after all. Mine mine mine, Claudia tells Sandro. Those who think they feel so much often realize they feel so little. Who feels anything anyway. Is it embarrassing and beneath you to let yourself be taken by melodrama? While I was watching, I couldn't help but think of Laura Marling's song, "New Romantic." This is a pretty cute video I recommend checking out. (I love the floating "sorry" on the floor).
While the authorities search for Anna, a police captain tells a smuggler, in order for information about her, that he'll get the smuggler set up with state services because he's obviously been stealing to help his family. I know it was tongue-in-cheek (where the hell did that phrase come from anyway), for Antonioni's films were not subsidized by the state. I however can't help but acknowledge that if this were an American film, the smuggler would've been offered a lesser sentence and not social services.
Antonioni has a delicate style of filming, featuring perplexing sensual cuts. For example, just after Sandro and Claudia are fooling around outside, they drive to a strange town where Anna may have stayed. Sandro leaves Claudia outside with every man in the piazza. It used to be a thing that Italian men would stand around outside at night. This was true even in the '80's when my family lived in Sicily. (My mother had quite a time getting my sister and I to our nightly piano lessons and orthodontist appointments, without the three of us being cat-called or asked where my father was). As Claudia becomes more and more surrounded by fiery men, she realizes she's in love with Sandro and darn if she isn't ashamed he's her best friend's boyfriend. I couldn't help but think about Ruth Orkin's photograph, An American Girl in Italy and what women think about when they are in those sorts of situations. A friend of mine had the photo framed and hung in his living room and we often discussed whether or not the woman wanted the attention, if she was trying to cover herself, and the overall pressures women have to be constantly beautiful even if it garners unwanted attention.