Il Grido Review
The FilmBecause is a very seductive word. It explains away the unfathomable, gives reasons where there are none, and it nobly bridges the chasm that exists between our expectations and our experience. For most films, explanation is everything; in the thriller it's the solution, and in drama it's the validation of the project's purpose. Outside of films, few things have a satisfying cause or meaning, and most of what we do is a case of wading through uncertainty hoping for clearer waters ahead.
Il Grido is Antonioni leaving behind the mechanics of narrative in order to pose unanswerable questions and present unexplainable stories. A woman(Valli) discovers her husband has died abroad and decides to end her relationship with her live-in lover, Aldo(Cochran). Aldo tries to plead and to intimdate her into changing her mind, but accepts defeat and in anger and shame leaves their village taking with him their young daughter. A succession of dirty jobs, travelling, and different women pass through the father and child's life until another effort at settling down leads to the child being returned to her mother. Aldo, soon, is revolted by his newly found life and escapes to one final empty flirtation. Drawn back home, he finds the factory he worked at empty, his wife seemingly occupied, and the village fighting its destruction.
Il Grido can't be described as uplifting. Misery happens, relief is transitory, and the final destination is the final destination. It offers no heroics or redeeeming truth and satisfies itself with the unhappy honesty of a real world that is presented from a grim anti-material perspective. As the action avoids too much in the way of narrative explanation, events proceed in a seemingly inevitable way where concrete consequences follow the inexplicable.
Il Grido is desolate and beautifully formed.
Transfer and SoundIl Grido is presented at 1.37:1 by Masters of Cinema - you will notice the black borders at the bottom and top of the fullscreen captures in this review. This progressive transfer does lack some detail and seems a little soft, and contrast is not as confident as you may like but the materials do seem a little worn and I am unsure whether, outside of some mild edge enhancement, there has been a lot of restoration here. The transfer is strong though even if it's not same standard as MOC's other Antonioni disc, La Notte.
Discs and Special FeaturesThis is an all region dual layer disc. The special features include soundless deleted scenes which were cut from the film by the censor for sexual content and alleged blasphemy. Each of the three scenes is an extension of existing material in the movie, and in the case of the blasphemous book selling scene simply re-dubbed to avoid offence. The final extra is an Italian trailer for the film presented with optional English subs.
Not available at the time of review is the 56-page booklet featuring a colour reproduction of the original Italian poster, archival publicity stills, an essay by William Arrowsmith (Antonioni: The Poet of Images), and writing and interviews from Michelangelo Antonioni.
SummaryThe beginning of Antonioni's roads to nowhere, Il Grido is presented well by MOC with a few pertinent extras and no region coding.
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