The Mystery of Oberwald
(Il mistero di Oberwald)

Screening on Film
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.
With Monica Vitti, Paolo Bonacelli, Franco Branciaroli.
Italy, 1981, 35mm, color, 129 min.
Italian with English subtitles.
Print source: Cinecittà Luce

Antonioni’s fascination with the ties between Eros and Thanatos underpins all of his fiction films, and it receives its baldest statement in this adaptation of Jean Cocteau’s The Eagle with Two Heads. The allegorical plot illustrates the erotic attraction between a widowed queen and the revolutionary poet who seeks to assassinate her. Oberwald marks Antonioni’s return to directing after a six-year hiatus, his first film shot in Italy in over a decade and his reunion with Monica Vitti, but it is also a radical departure. Shooting on video, Antonioni takes advantage of the change in medium to experiment with color, as objects, décor and the air itself change hue at certain moments, in concert with the ebb and flow of desire and affect. 

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