Review: I Vinti (1953)

I Vinti (1953)

Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni | 110 minutes | drama, crime | Actors: Franco Interlenghi, Anna-Maria Ferrero, Eduardo Ciannelli, Evi Maltagliati, Umberto Spadaro, Peter Reynolds, David Farrar, Patrick Barr, Fay Compton, Raymond Lovell, Françoise Arnoul, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Etchika Choureau, Henri Poirier, Albert Michel

With ‘I Vinti’, the Italian top director Michelangelo Antonioni seems to have ventured into neorealism, perhaps the best-known post-war film movement in Italy. This time, however, it is not about the struggle of the partisans, about poverty or unemployment. The war continues. The victims are the young people who have witnessed all the violence and now, some ten years later, have completely lost the sense of life and death.

In three separate episodes we see young people in three different countries. In France, a walk in the woods takes a fatal turn, in Italy a smuggling operation spirals out of control and in England a young poet discovers a corpse. Each time someone gets involved in a murder and the cause is always the same, according to Antonioni; the disastrous confrontation of the human mind with violence. Unlike in successful films ‘L’Avventura’ and ‘L’Eclisse’, the pace is good and there is a lot of talking. There is even some comic relief. Sparse, yes, but also well-timed. Moreover, the emotions almost all have their downside. The young British man who has proclaimed himself a poet and is trying to become famous with his discovery of a corpse still has a bit of humor in his pity at the beginning. The journalist who writes down his story even goes along to the racetrack where the boy is going to gamble. An amicable chat follows and he seems like a sympathetic, albeit somewhat lonely boy. That loneliness soon takes over and then the story turns. As in the other episodes, this cover is effectively portrayed.

The reality of Antonioni, whether you are in England, France or Italy, is not a happy one for the young war generation. This heavy conclusion makes ‘I Vinti’ a dramatic social indictment. As we’ve come to expect from Antonioni, the visuals are well taken care of and the grim atmosphere is its strongest point. In addition, the acting in every segment is excellent. Antonioni hadn’t yet caught up with his later form, but ‘I Vinti’ is well worth a look.

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