The primary conveyance in Tope Ongundare‘s “The Vitality of Monica Vitti,” a Fandor video that popped on 6.7, is that her existential angst channellings in those four Michelangelo Antonioni movies (L’Avventura, La Notte, L’eclisse, Red Desert) wouldn’t have penetrated if she hadn’t also conveyed gioia della vita — intensity, aliveness, a readiness to dance at the drop of a hat. Which is true. I’ve been a Vitti fan for ages so don’t tell me.
You know who also doesn’t need a reminder? Greta Gerwig. On 7.13.13 I tapped out the following after catching a screening of L’Avventura at the Film Forum:
“Gerwig was there, sitting all alone in the 10th or 11th row. We talked a bit after the show. She’s thoroughly spellbound by Vitti‘s performance, she said. Like me, she’s seen L’Avventura six or seven times. This is what women of extraordinary character and cinematic devotion do — they slip into revival screenings of classic films on a Friday night without a boyfriend and certainly without an entourage.”
To me Ongundare’s video suggests (and I’m not saying Ongundare had this in mind) that Vitti was breathtaking in all kinds of ways, including the sack. I’m sorry but vitality floods all channels. This is the kind of woman that men will go to ridiculous lengths to have and will half-destroy themselves to keep. Heavy was the heart of Antonioni when he and Vitti broke up during (or just after) the shooting of Modesty Blaise. I’ve been there, and the best attitude is “better to have known bliss and lost it than to never have known bliss at all.”
I’ll bet that Vitti was also (a) very high maintenance and (b) anything but a day at the beach. It’s all part of the same package.
Incidentally: The “great in the sack” paragraph probably puts me on Jen Yamato’s “insidious male gaze” shit list. Her Daily Beast piece popped a couple of days ago. Yamato makes some interesting points, but she does suggest that the only way for guys to not be on her shit list is to not gaze at any woman, ever. You can glance, I suppose, but the best alternative is to just stop paying attention. Don’t look, don’t notice, don’t sniff the air like a dog…just go away and turn it off. And that goes for women too — stop presenting yourselves in ways that will attract amorous attention, stop looking good, stop wearing heels, stop using your sexuality to gain access to power if other efforts fail…stop all of it.