Il Grido

Movie Information

In Brief: As it turned out, Il Grido (1957) marked the end of Michelangelo Antonioni's neorealist period. When he returned in 1960 with L'Avventura, he had pretty completely transformed himself into the introspective, artier, more impenetrable filmmaker we think of as Antonioni. It is perhaps not surprising since that was the same year that Fellini edged into being the fabulist filmmaker he'd always been edging toward with La Dolce Vita. Whatever the specifics, Il Grido remains a fairly solid neorealist film — only its somewhat peculiar ending suggests anything in the way of a change. It's a typical international cast affair, starring low-rent Hollywood tough guy Steve Cochran as Aldo, a man for whom happiness — or even contentment — seems an impossibility. When his girlfriend (Alida Valli) tosses him out in favor of another man, Aldo takes their daughter and becomes a wanderer, sifting through his past and searching for a future that leads him only back to where he started. It's rather grim stuff, and by its very nature it tends to meander, but it's a good example of Antonioni in neorealist mode. Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Il Grido Friday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,
Genre: Drama
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Starring: Steve Cochran, Alida Valli, Betsy Blair, Gabriella Pallotta, Dorian Gray, Lynn Shaw
Rated: NR



Don’t approach Il Grido expecting what we now think of as an Antonioni movie. Blowup (1966) this ain’t, nor is it The Passenger (1975), and, thankfully, it isn’t Zabriskie Point (1970). Il Grido is a pretty straightforward Italian neo-realist movie — with everything that implies. It should be remembered that neo-realism was as much the result of post-war financial constraints as it was an aesthetic movement, and by 1957 those constraints were no longer a consideration — or at least not as much of one — so the approach was starting to be played out. It was still a viable form for making a film on a tight budget, which Il Grido — a film about a jilted man (Steve Cochran) trying to find a place in the world by tramping around Italy — clearly is. It all takes place courtesy of location shooting. As Antonioni, it’s not entirely unrelated to his later films, since the main character is as aimless and disaffected as any of those in his mature films. The major difference is one of accessibility. Apart from an ending that perhaps rivals John Boorman’s Hell in the Pacific (1968) in terms of arbitrariness (and the studio did that, not Boorman), though there’s nothing here that is even slightly hard to understand.

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Il Grido Friday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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