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With: Franco Interlenghi, Anna-Maria Ferrero, Eduardo Ciannelli, Evi Maltagliati, Umberto Spadaro, Peter Reynolds, David Farrar, Patrick Barr, Fay Compton, Raymond Lovell, Françoise Arnoul, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Etchika Choureau, Henri Poirier, Albert Michel
Written by: Michelangelo Antonioni, Giorgio Bassani, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Diego Fabbri, Roger Nimier, Turi Vasile
Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: French, Italian, English, with English subtitles
Running Time: 114
Date: 09/04/1953

I Vinti (1953)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Youth of Today

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In Michelangelo Antonioni's later, larger-scale films, it's easier to understand his unique method of using landscape and environment to flesh out his stories. The spaces are bigger and more sharply defined. But that doesn't mean that the same themes don't apply to Antonioni's earlier and more "realistic" movies, as I Vinti (The Vanquished) shows. It's newly out on DVD, available for the first time in years, thanks to Raro Video (which also recently released Fellini's The Clowns).

I Vinti unfolds in three episodes, set in three different countries. It begins with a prologue, a stern warning for and about the youth of today: their callous behavior is not something to be emulated or applauded. In the first episode, set in France, a group of young people plans an outing in the country, where some of them plan to murder a rich friend and steal his money. The second episode takes place in Italy, where a young man smuggles cigarettes for a living and becomes involved in a murder. And in the third, set in London, a cynical, snooty young poet reports a dead body to the police, hoping to profit from it.

The movie finds Antonioni in a serious mood, hoping to impart a message, and it doesn't really become him; he's more of a poet. Thankfully, some alarmingly poetic images manage to come through, both beautiful and disturbing. All three of the murders take place in rural, countryside locations, giving a kind of natural, disaffected feel; this makes it all the more disturbing.

Most of the teens seem pretty much interchangeable. The first episode features something of a love triangle between some of the characters, but I found that they're not very distinguishable, or emotionally relevant, though maybe this was on purpose. Their ability to jump from lover to lover is the equivalent to their appreciation for life itself.

The third, British segment is considered the best, mainly because the poet character is so creepily memorable. He's cocky and snaky, fascinating and repellent all at the same time. Many have pointed out that this episode also foreshadows the director's later Blow Up (1966).

The Italian segment is probably the weakest, but this is mainly because it suffered from studio cutting. All in all, I Vinti isn't Antonioni's most dazzling film, but it's definitely worth seeking out, especially for completists interested in charting the course of the great director's career.

The DVD includes a restored version of the Italian segment, though it's not included in the full-length film; the restored sequences come from a shoddy video source, so it's included as an extra. Another interesting extra is Antonioni's segment from Love in the City (1953), an exploration of suicide. (Fellini's segment from the same film is on the Clowns disc.) There are also a couple of interviews and a liner notes booklet.

Raro upgraded this movie to Blu-ray in 2014, and though it doesn't appear to be a significant leap in quality, Antonioni fans will be pleased.

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