L’Avventura reminded me a lot of Hitchcock’s Psycho, released the same year, in that the first segment set’s the plot up to follow the female lead, only to have her disappear from the screen, never to be seen again before the halfway mark. In this instance, the plot concerns a young woman who, whilst holidaying on an island with her friends, goes missing, causing her best friend and her lover to search for her. When compared to more modern day missing-person films, such as Ben Affleck’s excellent Gone Baby Gone, the plot tends to meander a bit, with the supporting characters not seeming to care about the fate of the missing girl.
I was also reminded slightly of Polanski’s the Tenant, in which a man moves into a new apartment, only to slowly turn into the apartment’s previous occupant, as the missing girl’s best friend seems to inhabit the life of her missing mate, becoming closer with her former lover during the search. It almost seems like this was the plan of the missing girl, setting up the transformation by giving the friend some of her clothes before she goes missing. This all seems an improvement for the friend, and indeed for the life she inhabits, as she seems much happier within it than her predecessor. This is most clearly seen by comparing the almost identical shots of the original girl kissing her lover, and how little emotion she shows during this, contrasting with her friend kissing him much more passionately later in the film. There are other parallels between the two ends of the film, such as the friend being initially concerned at the girl’s disappearance, only to end up more concerned that she has returned to claim her life back.Choose film 7/10

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