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Identification Of A Woman

Identification Of A WomanThe renowned director Michelangelo
  Antonioni died in July 2007 at the age of
  94 and will be remembered for his iconic
  films — particularly his most famous
  work, Blow-Up (1966), a sexually explicit
  murder mystery set in swinging 60s
  London that starred Vanessa Redgave
  and David Hemmings. Identification Of
  A Woman (
aka Identificazione Di Una
was released in 1982 and earned
  Antonioni another win at the Cannes
  Film Festival...

'Avventura the two Anonioni films were both released on DVD on 16 June (2008) Identification Of A Woman is also about a woman who disappears, but it is given an entirely different treatment.

In typical Antonioni style, the viewer is led directly into recently-divorced, middle-aged film director Niccolo Farra's life. Niccolo (Tomas Milian) fumbles to find the key to his apartment and pauses to write on a scrap of paper: "His wife was a fearful woman. When they divorced, she took her fear with her but not the alarm."

He then enters the apartment on his hands and knees; but he is unable to prevent a noisy alarm from going off. Having immobilised it, he misses a telephone call and a child's voice on the ansaphone says: "Niccolo you promised me. It's a year I've been waiting."

When the telephone rings again, a man tells him he's been asked to tell Niccolo something important and that it's a delicate matter. They agree to meet, and an angry Niccolo is given a warning from a mystery man regarding a girl he is interested in...

While searching for a 'face' for his next film, Niccolo has embarked upon a passionate and obsessive relationship with Maria Vittoria Luppis (Daniela Silverior) — known as Mavi — whom he had met through his sister Carla (Veronica Lazar), a gynaecologist.

Although Mavi invites him into her world, it is not a world he is comfortable with. At a cocktail party — a wonderful fashion show of designs of the Eighties — she pointedly doesn't introduce him to many people.

The sex scenes are graphic, with full female nudity, and lines of communication are ambiguous: "If God didn't exist," says Mavi, "would man exist?" And she admits: "Men attract me, and in Spring I make new acquaintances."

He tells her she's unfathomable and that she manages to appear at the same time bitter and sweet. And when he discovers that his sister has lost her job, he believes it is to do with the man who threatened him. He calls Mavi, and when she doesn't answer straight away, he asks her how he can be sure that she didn't secretly meet the mystery man…

Niccolo and Mavi are being stalked and, under cover of night, drive to a country house he has rented that was built over Roman remains and is slowly sinking into the hollow above the ruins. There is a wonderfully-atmospheric scene where Mavi runs off into the fog and is momentarily lost.

At the house, Mavi accuses Niccolo of ruining her life but that doesn't stop a marathon love-making session under a billowing white sheet. The following morning Niccolo discovers the house has been double-booked and that Mavi has vanished.

While searching for her, he meets a number of young women (among them Antonioni's future wife Enrico Fico) and he decides to make a movie about women's relationships. The main themes are loneliness and abandonment — themes that are, in Antonioni's inimitable style, reflected in the thick fog and the stark landscapes and the mood of the characters.

Then Niccolo meets Ida (Christine Boisson), a dancer from the theatre where I Fiori Del Maloe is being performed. Although he has tracked Mavi down, she manages to avoid him and the threats continue.

Despondent, he invites Ida to Venice and they take a boat out to the open lagoon, out towards the sea. The water is sad, she says. "There's no joy." And Niccolo observes darkly: "We imagine happiness where we are not. It must be the primary reason for suffering. Maybe one should marry first and solve everything later."

Ida comments: "Italian directors act as if they were paid to protest against the world. And laugh at it." But she has fallen deeply in love with Niccolo and there are further complications that may prevent them from staying together.

Identification Of A Woman features Sandra Monteleoni as Mavi's sister; Alessandro Ruspoli as Mavi's father; Luisa Della Noce as Mavi's mother; Lara Wendel, Enrica Fico, and Marcel Bozzufi. The Producer is Giorgio Nocella; the Director of Photography is Carlo di Palma and the original music is by John Foxx.

The film became notorious in the UK when it was first aired on Channel 4, and there were so many complaints about the nudity that they were forced to introduce the 'Parental Discretion' triangle. The film is beautiful in many ways with intriguing, dark overtones; an exercise in exploring the psyche and dissecting relationships and the damage they can do.

Identification Of A Woman is on sale now (released on 16 June, 2008) at a RRP of £14.99.

"Identification Of A Woman… The film is beautiful in many ways with intriguing, dark overtones; an exercise in exploring the psyche and dissecting relationships and the damage they can do" — MotorBar