This is Not a Love Story
“As long as we were in love we understood each other. There was nothing to understand.“
(Listen to this while reading the rest of the post. Also, there be spoilers, obviously…)
Not so Vittoria, who is equally mysterious and yes, “quirky.” Even though we know almost nothing about her, except that she’s a translator who is no longer happy and in love with her [soon to be ex-]boyfriend. She wanders, her gaze beautifully empty. She drifts. She lingers. She meanders, easily distracted and curious about the objects around her.
Her polar opposite, Piero is almost too dynamic. He dances around in circles. Even death will not keep him still. He takes everything around him for granted. Like Vittoria, he doesn’t know a thing either, and doesn’t care, shrugging his immaculately-tailored shoulders when asked. One of my favorite shots (2nd picture, 2nd row) is where the column breaks them into halves–like Plato’s theory of soulmates–are they really meant to fit together, these others, these splintered selves?
Forgive me for this mostly romantic tribute for this somewhat unromantic film. There are so many things to write about this film–the architecture, the bursts of sound and silence, the objects that are broken or empty, the tension of a world about to disappear in a burst of light. But Vittoria and Piero haunt me. There is nothing romantic about the way Piero tries to seduce her. And there is nothing romantic about the way Vittoria rejects him (or in the way she succumbs). They just cannot connect, at the very least with each other. But this is the cinema…two people of more than reasonable attractiveness must fall in love–or at least try.
Oh if Alain Delon as Piero weren’t so gorgeous, he’d be a creep. He is a creep, but you want him anyway. Here, he blows off his other girl friend and impulsively drives to Vittoria’s house hoping to get lucky. He doesn’t, not yet.
But as promised (threatened?) you know that lovers become lovers eventually, here, in this street corner that becomes “theirs.” We hesitate. We’re halfway there. We move on.
And now the quote that sums it all up. As the song above says (if you’re still listening) Amore / Inutile finestra… [Love / A useless window] Vittoria and Piero consummate their relationship and yet there’s nothing really there…
It’s love and not love and does it really matter which one it is? The days pass by with laughter and play and kisses through the glass but a buzzer rings and it’s back to real life. And why are they even together? Why does Vittoria allow herself to drift into Piero’s arms? Is Piero really just another playboy, playing? The film is almost ending and still there are no answers, only so many questions. It’s pointless anyway. Another favorite shot (3rd picture, 5th row) has Piero and Vittoria clinging desperately to each other and yet looking away. It reminds me of Rilke’s Second Elegy: But we: we vanish in our feelings. Oh we breathe / ourselves out, and out; our smell dissolves / from ember to ember. It’s true, someone may tell us: / “You’re in my blood, this room, Spring floods / with you …” What good is it? He can’t hold us. / We vanish in him and around him. And the beautiful, / oh, who can hold them back? Some look is always rising / in their faces, and falling. Like dew on new grass, / like heat from a steaming dish, everything we are rises / away from us.
Our last glimpse of Piero: sitting in his office, surrounded by the incessant ringing of the telephone. Our last glimpse of Vittoria: against the backdrop of trees, looking always looking at the nature that surrounds her. They make a promise, as lovers do, to meet every day and forever. They don’t. This is not a love story. They disappear, like everyone else in this story, and soon we will too, leaving the city with our absence.
Vision of silence / Empty street corner / Page with no sentence / Letter written on a face / In stone and mist / Love / A useless window.
So, that was a little serious for my first picspam. haha. There’s a wonderful study on L’Eclisse here if anyone’s interested and L’Eclisse is now available in the internet! So if anyone’s looking for a copy, comment and I’ll send you a link.