#1 Eur locations of L’eclisse: Construction site (Viale del Ciclismo 19, 00144 Roma [intersection of Viale della Tecnica and Viale del Ciclismo]) Riccardo’s apartment Vittoria’s apartment, Viale dell’ Umanesimo 307 Marta’s apartment, Viale dell’ Umanesimo 315 (vide infra) Eur “laghetto” (“little lake”) Eur water reservoir (“fungo” / “mushroom”); Piazza Pakistan Palazzo dello Sport “Piano bar” (gelateria Giolitti, Casina 3 Laghi; Viale Oceano 90. See: http://pinterest.com/pintip/roma-al-cinema/ [accessed 14 January 2013])
Non-Eur locations of L’eclisse (within Aurelian Walls of historic, central Rome) #2 Borsa (stock market) and Bar della Borsa at Piazza di Pietra #3 Apartment of Piero’s parents near Piazza Campitelli (“Ghetto” quarter) #4 Piero’s office on Via Po near intersection with Via Salaria
___________________________________________________________________________________ #5 Michelangelo and Enrica Fico Antonioni’s residence
In L’eclisse only one set was employed in the entire film, that of the interior of Marta’s apartment, erected at the Studio Incir-De Paolis; Via Tiburtina 521, 00159 Roma (now known as “Studios Srl”). The exterior balcony, however, of Marta’s apartment from which Marta fires a rifle was not part of the artificial set but a real balcony of the apartment building immediately adjacent to Vittoria’s Eur dwelling. Thus, the site of Marta’s apartment resists being classified neatly as either an “Eur location” or “Non-Eur location.” It is both. As is the case with so many things in Antonioni's films, Marta’s apartment is not what it seems. It is neither here nor there.
Subsequent to my writing the above, a book was published in 2008, Cinematic Rome (Wrigley, Richard. Editor.), that contains a chapter by Jacopo Benci, “Michelangelo’s Rome: Towards an Iconology of L’Eclisse,” in which further specific details regarding shooting locations for L’eclisse are given. Most notably:
1. Riccardo’s residence is identified as being located on Via dell’Antartide (Antarctica Street) in the Eur. (Alternatively an Italian web site identifies Riccardo’s residence as “[La] villa resa nota da 4 mosche di velluto grigio in Via dell'Esperanto 23.” http://www.davinotti.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=377&Itemid=79 [accessed 13 August 2013]).
2. The apartment of Vittoria’s mother is said to be located at no. 40, Via della Stazione di San Pietro.
3. The precise address of the apartment of Piero’s parents is given as the “late
sixteenth-century Palazzo Patrizi-Clementi-Ascarelli a S. Caterina (12, Via dei Delfini).”
4. The precise address of Piero’s office is identified as “50 Via Po in front of the Nunziatura Apostolica, the Vatican Embassy to the Italian State” (within whose confines is also the “Nunziatura Apostolica Garden”).
5. Most importantly, Benci states that after the scene shot of Vittoria and Piero in the apartment of Piero’s parents, Vittoria and Piero lie outside “near the Via Laurentina, again in the new Rome of EUR, and the building seen in the background is the College of the Sisters of Nevers.” (Again, alternatively, the Italian Internet site, http://www.davinotti.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=377&Itemid=79 , notes that "si vedono ad esempio la chiesa di Viale della Scultura, 15 (sede dell’istituto scolastico religioso Highlands Institute), si riconoscono parti dell’ormai demolito Velodromo Olimpico." / “. . . one sees, for example, the church of the Viale dells Scultura, 15 (seat of the scholastic, religious ‘Highlands Institute’) [and] parts of the [now] demolished olympic velodrome.”
Indeed, at the Internet site:
[retrieved 16 September, 2008]
there is a photograph of a building at Via Laurentina 472 in the Eur, the Istituto Suore di Nevers, 00142 Roma (“College of the Sisters of Nevers”), which appears to be a partial view of the unusual spired-building that I discuss in some detail in Chapter 2. One may also visualize the building and the entire site from an aerial perspective using “Google Maps” (http://maps.google.com/) which allows one to easily access satellite imagery. In 1961 the College of the Sisters of Nevers was located in a predominantly rural area of the eastern section of the Eur near the Abbazia delle Tre Fontane; the area is now highly developed and urban in character, a transformation that occurred predominantly in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The unobstructed view of the college that is in the background behind Vittoria and Piero as they lie on a knoll in the Eur no longer exists. For further documentation of the existence of “the College of the Sisters of Nevers,” see:
[retrieved 16 September, 2008]
The “College” apparently also presently functions in part as a “casa di riposo” (“old-age home”); see:
[retrieved 17 September, 2008]
In the last winter of their discontent will Vittoria and Piero, old and grey and full of sleep, find themselves together once again in the house of repose of the Sisters of Nevers, lying next to one another—like their creator, Michelangelo Antonioni—paralyzed and speechless?
Much of my fanciful speculation in Chapter 2—that the building may not even exist—something written prior to reading Benci’s 2008 work, was wrong. It does appear correct, however, that Antonioni did create a particularly disorienting shot of the College of the Sisters of Nevers, or as I originally speculated in Chapter 2 prior to encountering in 2008 Benci’s accurate identification of the building: “Did Antonioni in fact slyly make a single shot of two separate buildings superimposed upon one another to give them the deceptive appearance of one structure on the flat, two-dimensional movie screen?”
(Caution: Plot Spoiler):
“The Sisters of Nevers” is taken from the name of a city in central France on the banks of the Loire. Nevers is the home town of the nameless principle female protagonist famously played by Emmanuelle Riva in Hiroshima mon amour—a film made but 2 years before L'eclisse was shot. Nevers plays a critical role in Hiroshima mon amour with multiple extended flashbacks to the site where the Riva character had suffered such terrible tragedy in World War II in France including the death of her first love. The film’s plot concerns a brief encounter and tempestuous love affair in Hiroshima that the Riva character—a French actress making a film in Hiroshima—has with a nameless Japanese architect played by Eiji Okada, several years after the end of the Second World War when the city has been physically-architecturally restored. Explicit wordplays occur in the film in dialogue between the man and the woman, specifically the linking of the name of the French city, Nevers, with the French word, “jamais” (in English, “never”). The famous last lines of the film are:
The Woman (addressing the Man): “Hiroshima. It is your name.”
The Man (addressing the Woman): “It is my name. Yes. Your name is Nevers.”
I had spent many hours searching for a building in Rome, the identity of which I have only now discovered thanks to the work of Jacopo Benci. It has taken much time and effort over what seems so small an issue to finally arrive at an unanticipated question:
How was it that—“in a universe where rigor and caprice reign”—of the tens of thousands of structures in Rome named after everything under the Sun, Vittoria and Piero found themselves in front of a building named after a relatively obscure city in central France, a city that had a key relationship with one of the cinematic masterpieces of the 20th century, a film whose theme concerned a doomed love affair lasting 24 hours arising in a city called Hiroshima?