Some thoughts I had on Antonioni's 'Identificazione di una donna/Identification of a Woman
' (1982), now a review at IMDB
While I feel that Antonioni was perhaps attempting to create too much of a plot in this film, and he almost creates 'a story' with a twist and a climax and a resolution, yet he cannot ultimately play by the Artistotelian rules of what drama is. We come so close, though. I savour that closeness, it is like the scene of Niccolo and Mavi driving through the fog. We sense ultimate meaning, the neatness of a story begun, enclosed now in a fog of unknowing, that contains vague threats, the tension leaving the main characters emotionally raw, and they part as we the audience part from any storyline resembling anything like a normal structure.
Antonioni does not move by classical plot lines. His movies are composed of intensities, emotional weights that fall through the characters. When the emotion builds to high pitch, something happens. People that we fall away from disappear out of our lives. Sometimes we look for them. Niccolo winds up the stairs of the building that is the address where Mavis perhaps now resides. They watch each other for a moment: he on the street looking up, she from the lit window looking down; nothing else happens.
Antonioni's movies are like life in this way. We do not know the 'grand plot' of our lives, if there is one at all, but are driven by our sensitivities, emotional entanglements, the intensities of our lives, those we love in the ways that we understand love. We are part of our environments, rich or poor, and while ideas exist, and politics, they do not drive us as strongly as our hearts, our questioning spirit.
While many people find Antonioni's films long, plot-less and perhaps nearly pointless, his movies make sense to me. They end, not with a resolution to a twist-turning, hair-raising story but with an understanding of a moment, an epiphany if you will. In this film, the asteroid that is turned into a spaceship heading towards the sun that Niccolo speaks to a child about is a brilliant ending. Not only a continuing poetic metaphor of the sun and our passion but the 'light' of insight is here. Imagination is highlighted, and the child, who could be his nephew or the son of Nadia, we do not know and it does not matter.
In Identificazione di una donna
, Antonioni further develops the theme of the creative artist, the director, who is, here, searching for the identity of woman. It's beautiful. Respectful and adoring of women's sexuality, including bisexuality, the mystique of the woman who is not one, but many.
As with all of Antonioni's films, I found myself adoring the characters in Identificazione di una donna
, their lives. Let yourself go, forget expectations, feel the force of the film at its core. We are like this. Undecided, with choices to make every moment of our lives.