La Notte is a film that takes place over the course of a single day and night about a marriage where love has faded away some time ago.
Giovanni is a successful writer with a newly released book in print. He attends a grand soiree with his wife, Lydia, thrown by a corporate executive impressed with Giovanni’s work and interested in hiring him to write corporate communications. However, it’s the executive’s young daughter, Valentina, that captures Giovanni’s eye and holds his attention.
Giovanni’s conversations with Lydia throughout reflect a coolness reinforced by Lydia’s observations from afar of his flirtations with Valentina. When the opportunity presents itself, Lydia rejects an affair of her own.
La Notte feels like watching the disintegration of a marriage in slow motion. It’s a sad story that lacks any payoff or sense of what Michaelangelo Antenioni is trying to convey. Lydia is a sympathetic character who doesn’t have a great deal of dialogue and whose feelings are shown mainly through her sad expressions. Unfortunately, until the final scene, her resignation to the situation seems pathetic.
There are some fascinating visuals; the lighting and silhouettes in particular will be appreciated for fans of black and white. What La Notte does well is instill a mood with interesting and creative scenes that are for naught, because the dialogue is insufficient for telling a strong story to compliment the cinematography.