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Manipulation of space and sexuality in L’Avventura

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Sandro and Claudia's visit to Noto.
    1. The appearance of Claudia and Sandro as standing shoulder to shoulder.
    2. Physical and perceptual space.
    3. The contrast of the ?objective? action.
  3. The body language and styling of the celebrity.
  4. Claudia - the only character with obvious and noticeable movement.
  5. Conclusion.

In Rudolf Arnheim's Dynamics of Architectural Form, Arnheim argues that in many ways, physical space is less important to human beings than the psychological perception of space. For the average man, experience isn't made up of isolated incidents, but rather an ?experience is generated only though the interrelation of objects.? In Michelangelo Antonion's film L'Avventura, the tension that exists in space when objects are moved together and pulled apart forms a large part of his language on the nature of sexual relationships. My thesis will incorporate Arnheim's article ?Elements of Space? in order to illustrate how Antonioni is manipulating space perception in L'Avventura to reflect not only the predatory nature of sexuality, but also a looming sense of danger and female fragility.

[...] If Claudia has a weak internal sense of self, then the move towards the staircase can be seen as a way of defining herself in terms of her relationship with men. The attention is something which she needs, consciously or unconsciously. As she leans against the bottom stone pillar of the staircase, Claudia is, for a moment, simply resting against something larger than her, becoming physically dependent on its support. Anna stares off into space, and gradually becomes aware of the ambient sound of murmuring which has imperceptibly grown until it fills the silence. [...]

[...] Architects are, in essence, anyone who creates space by establishing their own constellations (identity) through the arrangement of various points of reference. As she wanders around the square, Claudia is the only character with obvious and noticeable movement. The men cluster around her silent, imperceptibly, yet she moves in a large elliptical. They are, in a sense, being organized according to wear Claudia chooses to move. Ultimately, Claudia's composed, though noticeably tense, demeanor is an indicator of her sense of disconnect with the world. [...]

[...] On the screen, however, this movement ruins the illusion of proximity the camera had created, and reveals the space in between them. From a symbolic point of view, Claudia's aversion to going through doors with other people indicate an unwillingness to move forward?cross a threshold, so to speak?with the relationship. By having Sandro turn to the side, Antonioni is visually illustrating the distance her fear is putting between her and other individuals. As she continues to explain herself, he continues to move away from her by degrees, until his shoulder touches the door of the hotel. [...]

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