Love Affair [1994]

Director: Glenn Gordon Caron
Stars: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Katharine Hepburn, Garry Shandling, Chloe Webb
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 108 minutes

Before becoming the poster child for the extreme arty, slow paced foreign films of the '60s, Michealanglo Antonioni actually developed his craft on very straightforward, neo-realistic films. Story of a Love Affair (1950) was Antonioni's first feature-length dramatic film, and much to his critics' chagrin, it is extremely linear, it has limited drawn out, "real time" shots, and his actors actually project more emotion than the typical "Antonioni apathy." Enrico (Ferdinando Sarmi) is an extremely wealthy and jealous husband who suspects his young, beautiful bride, Paola (Lucia Bosé), is unfaithful. Instead of confronting her directly, he hires a private detective (Gino Rossi) to investigate her past. While checking up on the mysterious death of Paola's friend, the private dick indirectly puts one of Paola's old lovers (Massimo Girotti) back in contact with his client's wife. Though originally separated due to the death of their close friend, seeing each other sparks up some buried passion that ironically will put Enrico and Paola's marriage to the test. Like his contemporaries' earlier works, Story of a Love Affair is a must for cinephiles who love to see all those "Antonioni-style" trademarks in their infancy. Of particular note is the typical Antonioni shot, in which where the two main characters have a full conversation with their backs to the camera. Though Story of a Love Affair does not pack the historical punch of L'Avventura or Blow Up, it is definitely more approachable for the general public and an excellent neo-realistic film in its own right. --Rob Bracco

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