By FREDA BRUCE
LA NOTTE Certificate "V. Director: Michelangelo Antonioni CONTEMPORARY jargon classifies one section of the population — beatniks, pop musicians. intellectuals — as "night people". The week's films, two of them explicitly in their titles, might be described as night pictures.
Enthusiasts for the present Italian cinema seem divided into admirers of Fellini's "La Dolce Vita", admirers of Visconti's "Rocco and His Brothers", and admirers of An tonioni's "L'Avventura". I belong to thc third group. Thinking "L'Avventura" one of the finest films ever made, it is exciting to find "La Notte", which
won the grand prize at the Berlin Festival last year, no less fascinating. Milan. to which he returns for the setting. is Antonioni's city, the long flowing line and startlingly clear light the marks of his pictorial style. Well-to-do intellectuals and dilettantes are his class, individual isolation his besetting pre-occupation.
As a study in isolation, the distance between a novelist and his wife whose marriage has come to a point of frustration, the new film strikes me as more tender and compassionate. even perhaps more hopeful than the earlier.
The only human link still tying husband (Marcello Mastroianni) and wife (Jeanne Moreau) seems the friend dying in hospital. They wander forlornly searching for each other, she hardly speaking until the end; a clever device, the actress being French, and a superb performance. In so far as "La Notte" overlaps with "La Dolce Vita", as it does in the great outdoor party which marks the crisis. it is both more elegant and more personal. Antonioni is not a film-maker who deals in the outer surface of life, but in the inward intimacies. the submerged depths at which most people begin real life. An Antonioni film is not to be swallowed whole at one sitting. But my impression is still of the finest talent now making films. If
he would allow his characters a grain of faith he would be a very great director.
L'AFFAIRE D'UNE NUIT Certificate "X" Director: Henri Yemeni! THIS is just what used to be called a "very French" comedy and might be expected of one with an "X". But it also has the polish, the wit and the sense of the ridiculous also expected of the French.
The adventures of the friend left to see his friend's wife home are far from edifying. But at some other level the film has its values clear. It is anyway even farther from the crudeness suggested by the horridly translated English title: "It Happened All Night'.
MV GEISHA Certificate "A" Director: Jack Cardiff OUT of the night we come here to enjoy people of the sun —or at least of the arc-lamps, by which a Hollywood company plans to make a film of "Madam Butterfly" in Japan. As Shirley MacLaine and her producer husband, Steve Parker, have a home in Tokyo as well as in Hollywod, it is natural that they should welcome the opportunity to try to correct some misapprehensions about Geishas. Cutting a lot of red tape round the red herrings, we arrive at one of those "misunderstood" cases where the Geisha is being played by the Hollywood star, unbeknown to the star's husband. Like so many films about filmmaking. as long as the action is in the hands of Miss MacLaine. Yves Montand as her husbanddirector and the wonderfully unaging Edward G. Robinson as producer, it is very funny. So are the scenes devoted to explaining the lifetime of training for a Geisha. When it comes to the sentimental story of Montand (whose English is improving) the film is less sure. But my only serious objections were that two hours is too long. and we see not enough of that exquisite Japanese actress Yoko Tani (a Catholic who lives in Paris by the way) and that despite a great appearance of candour, there's a touch of
trickeabout the double-dubbing of the opera scenes.