L'AVVENTURA, one of Michelangelo Antonioni's most gripping works, features expert photography and an electric cast that, together, seem to try to fool the audience. As a result, viewers are engrossed as they watch the majestic film unroll, waiting for Antonioni to reveal a piece of plot or offer up any cinematic clue to help them solve the film's mystery. In a style that would later be known as Hitchcockian, that moment never comes. One summery Saturday afternoon a group of friends living in Rome departs on a yachting trip out to a local island. Two of the group, Anna (Lea Massari) and Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti), young lovers considering marriage, have a dispute; that afternoon, Sandro announces that Anna is missing. A thorough search of the island is made on Anna's behalf, but she is never found, and Sandro, who remains relatively unconcerned, is never questioned. In fact, before the yachting group even returns to the mainland, Sandro tries to pick up Anna's best friend, Claudia (Monica Vitti). Still, he is not even considered suspicious, but viewers can smell a rat. Claudia and Sandro galavant through the Italian countryside, supposedly investigating Claudia's disappearance, but their true motives are never clear, even in the last--entirely enigmatic--scene of the movie.
Cannes Jury Prize 1960