This article is a political interpretation of La notte (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy/France, 1961) and proposes that the central theme of the film is the identity of the discourse of capital and the discourse of patriarchy, both as solipsistic, self‐perpetuating enjoyment. On the narrative level, the capitalist‐patriarchal discourse is incarnated in double complementary figures, both male and female. The male couple consists of a traditional fatherly moralizing figure and a modern mute solipsist, who is also a sexual predator. The female one is constructed out of mute enjoyment of a nymphomaniac and a phantasmagoric figure of Valentina whose power of fascination is utterly mediated by the commodities among which she moves and the fashionable intellectual commonplaces she utters. This configuration is set up to map a labyrinth of existential im/possibilities that a non‐spectral new woman, Lidia, faces at a particular juncture in Italian history. Her initial flânerie, in which she attempts to dissolve her bourgeois identity‐property, fails as she becomes conscious that what seems to be the space of indeterminacy and becoming is in fact a thoroughly organized urbanist hyperspace that aims at absolute management of people and commodities. Unable to find something really new in new Italy, Lidia returns to the constricting discourse of melodrama she has been inscribed into as a long‐suffering wife in order to undermine its conventions and use its utopian potential to put her relationship with her husband on a new footing. Although her attempt fails, an attentive viewer is given two glimpses that catch something beyond the commodity‐oriented melodramatic universe: a timeless moment of transcendence created in writing and a reconciliation of subject and object in a female dance act.

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