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, www.ashevillecourtyard.com