March 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A-

”Eros is sick,” director Michelangelo Antonioni (Blow-Up) famously pronounced in 1960. Two years later, the patient was showing no sign of improvement. Given their mutual gorgeousness, a romance between Vitti and Delon ought to lift anyone’s spirits, but even when Vitti’s translator and Delon’s stockbroker finally get to canoodling, it doesn’t lift the air of rarefied gloom. The final chapter in Antonioni’s ”alienation trilogy,” L’Eclisse (The Eclipse for non-Italian speakers) is famous for its frenetic, semidocumentary stock-exchange sequences and its depopulated, quasi-apocalyptic finale. But it’s Vitti’s and Delon’s performances that make it possible to keep watching as the film paints an increasingly bleak but beautiful picture of modern life. Antonioni often said he was more interested in the space around his characters than the characters themselves. It helps when the vacuum is such a shapely one.

EXTRAS A career-spanning doc with tantalizing glimpses of the as-yet-undigitized China and The Passenger; commentary, essays, and interviews.

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