Doodles and Dollars

In Antonioni’s film L’eclisse, the luminous Monica Vitti visits the Rome stock exchange, where her fiancée, played by Alain Delon, works.  Delon points out a fat man who has just lost 50 million lire.  Intrigued, she follows the man.  He orders a drink at a bar, barely touches it, then goes to a café where he orders an acqua minerale, which he again barely touches.  He is writing something on a piece of paper, and leaves it on the table.  We imagine that it must be a set of furious, melancholy figures.  Vitti approaches the table, and sees that it is a drawing of a flower…

[T]he joke is nicely on us.  We had a stock idea of how the financial victim responds to catastrophe – collapse, despair, self-defenestration – and Antonioni confounded our expectations.  The character slips through our changing perceptions, like a boat moving through canal locks.  We begin in misplaced certainty and end in placeless mystery.

~ James Wood, How Fiction Works

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One response to “Doodles and Dollars

  1. Pingback: Of Cabbages and Kings « The New Psalmanazar

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