This less well-known Michelangelo Antonioni film from 1957 is evidence of the Italian auteur’s transition from his country’s post-war neo-realist style to the kind of filmmaking with which he established his international reputation. American actor Steve Cochran plays a factory worker named Aldo who’s dumped by his mistress Irma (Alida Valli, retrospective subject of the recent Italian Film Festival) and takes off with their child to wander through northern Italy’s Po Valley (the place where Antonioni spent his childhood). Unable to settle down again and finding only fleeting respite from his heartbroken state through a series of lovers, Aldo’s past finally catches up with him at the film’s fateful climax.
The empty industrial landscapes are the stuff of neo-realism, but stunning cinematography and the atmosphere of disaffection anticipate the director’s later better-known films, L’Avventura, The Red Desert and Blow Up making Il Grido or The Cry’s DVD debut well worth checking out. Loads of great extras include previously unseen deleted footage and a 56-page booklet.
(Eureka/Masters of Cinema DVD retail)