Tragic Hunt


On December 13, 1975, forty-two people departed for a crocodile hunt on the island of Java. Twenty-eight men, fourteen women. They rented two boats and, loaded with provisions, proceeded along a river.

After reaching the place, a pool of water at the foot of a towering and sinister cliff, the crocodiles overturned their boats and they were all eaten, provisions included.

~ Michelangelo Antonioni, That Bowling Alley on the Tiber — Tales of a Director. Translated by William Arrowsmith.

Now there’s an Antonioni film the world wasn’t ready for. If he’d needed a co-director for insurance purposes, a la Wim Wenders, maybe he could have got Lewis Teague. Still, I like the sound of this one, especially the way Antonioni might have done it — all that packing and preparation, five minutes of decisive devouring, and then a long epilogue of red water flowing back to sea…

7 Responses to “Tragic Hunt”

  1. Really violent stuff. Maybe he should have got you as a co-director.

    Can’t think of any Antonioni that’s a precedent for this kind of story.

  2. I meant to say that his characters usually are so jaded and alienated they might welcome a crocodile attack with all it’s annihilation as a respite.

  3. I think they might have done just that in his version. I can’t see Vitti putting up much of a struggle, anyway.

  4. david wingrove Says:

    Vitti might, on the other hand, have slain the crocodiles and turned them into a fabulous pair of thigh-high leather boots (with matching handbag).

    I’ve long been convinced that audiences in the 60s watched Antonioni’s films for the fashion, rather than the ponderous existential angst.

    Who in the 60s wouldn’t have killed for a chance to live in Monica Vitti’s sumptuous villa, wear her designer wardrobe and drive her snazzy Alfa Romeo?

    If it all turned out to be a bit empty…well, I for one could live with that!

  5. Modesty Blaise, needless to say, could show those crocodiles a thing or two.

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