The Movie Waffler Re-Release Review - IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN | The Movie Waffler


Identification of a Woman review
A director falls for a young actress, only for her to vanish.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Michelangelo Antonioni

Starring: Tomás Milián, Daniela Silverio, Christine Boisson, Veronica Lazar

Identification of a Woman review bluray

meets Vertigo in Identification of a Woman, Michelangelo Antonioni's final solo feature. Like Fellini's film it features a filmmaker struggling with a creative block, and from Hitchcock's thriller it takes the loss of a woman and a subsequent search to find her.

Identification of a Woman review

The woman is Mavi (Daniela Silverio), a young model and wannabe actress who calls her gynaecologist only for the phone to be answered by the doctor's brother, director Niccolo (Tomás Milián). Crossing all sorts of boundaries, Niccolo tracks Mavi down and the pair begin dating. Niccolo is lovestruck but Mavi seems distant, and she may well view the relationship as nothing more than a business transaction. Introduced to Mavi's high society friends, the director is treated like a coalman who refused to use the tradesman's entrance. There's a very effective scene in which Niccolo is shunned by an assortment of snobs at a party, but I couldn't figure out why they would take this attitude to a filmmaker.

Identification of a Woman review

There aren't many great scenes in this weaker entry in Antonioni's filmography but a sequence on a road shrouded in fog is up there with his best work. The mist transforms an Italian highway into a vision of hell straight out of a Fulci movie as Mavi disappears into the fog. She turns up but subsequently vanishes the following morning.

Enter the second of Niccolo's young lovers. Ida (Christine Boisson) is an actress too, but far more down to earth than Mavi, and considerably more attractive. She becomes a curious mix of both Kim Novak and Barbara Bel Geddes' characters from Vertigo as Niccolo uses her to fill the void left by Mavi's absence. Realising she can't replace Mavi, Ida unselfishly sets about helping Niccolo to find her.

Identification of a Woman review

As you would expect from an Antonioni movie, Identification of a Woman takes itself very seriously. It's not so easy for the viewer to take it so seriously, as it boasts the sort of premise that was fuelling Gene Wilder and Dudley Moore comedies during this period. Movies like 10 and The Woman in Red were very aware of how pathetic their protagonists' mid-life crises were, but Antonioni treats Niccolo's obsession with a woman half his age with a level of earnestness that borders on the ridiculous. The soundtrack, curated by Ultravox's John Foxx, consists of moody post-New Wave electronic tunes that further add to the morose tone. It will be interesting to see how the idea of a filmmaker using his position to bed budding starlets plays to a 2022 audience introduced to Antonioni's film through this reissue.

Identification of a Woman
 is on UK blu-ray and VOD from September 12th.

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