Identification of a Woman AKA Identificazione di una donna (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Cult Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (1st September 2022).
The Film

Michelangelo Antonioni’s rarely seen and unjustly underrated masterwork - perhaps due to its renowned sexual explicitness. IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN is the maverick director’s own bookend to his lifelong exploration of the imprecise nature of human relationships, incommunicability and alienation.

After his wife leaves him, a film director (ostensibly Antonioni’s alter-ego, played by Tomas Milian) is in a limbo, searching for a muse, whilst preparing his new film. He enters into a passionate affair with a striking young aristocratic woman (Daniela Silverio). Soon a stranger warns him, with threats, to stop seeing her and some weeks later, after a lover’s row, she vanishes … Whilst searching for her, he meets a beautiful young actress (Christine Boisson), whose curiosity is piqued to find the missing woman ...

Each frame, rigorously conceived by Antonioni and painted by Carlo Di Palma’s rich beautifully modulated cinematography, is an essential and at times subliminal part of the storytelling itself - culminating in the legendary filmic tour-de-force that is the fogbound highway scene. Uniquely, this release benefits from the most recent 2K restoration source which finally does justice to the original vision of the artist's painterly yet unsettling masterpiece.

Tellingly prescient, it also depicts a modernising world beset by fear: with gun-toting neighbour, alarmed-home, speeding blindly in fog, threats, and disappearance… This spellbinding anti-romance is a quiet yet resounding masterpiece which was to be Antonioni’s last full film, cementing his legacy, as hailed by Martin Scorsese as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.


This drama about a film director trying to find his muse is gorgeously shot in a typically low key way by Carlo di Palma who'd worked with Antonioni on some films in the past (Red Desert, Blow-Up). Largely this favours a warm, soft palette that is naturalistic and dominated with browns and flesh tones (not surprising as it's a human drama with several nude scenes). Faces are clearly rendered with plenty of fine detail although this presentation preserves the very strong grain structure which lends it an overall softness. Blues and occasional reds, pinks and purples are muted slightly but I feel by design.

If one knows di Palma's work on Woody Allen's films then you'll know what I mean although with Anonioni the contrast is also flatter, more subdued. Black levels are generally strong with reasonable shadow detail. For my money the loveliest sequence is the scene in a boat starting at 111:45 (until 115:21) which has beautiful lowkey cinematography at daybreak. The highway scene bound in fog No signs of unintended crush nor blown out highlights. No signs of digital tinkering, nor print damage and the encode ensures it looks filmic at all times ('A').

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.78:1 / 130:04


Italian LPCM 2.0 (48kHz)
Subtitles: English

Sound is generally excellent for an early '80s mono track. The electronic score by John Fox with an assist from the likes of Tangerine Dream and others comes off very well. The main theme will stick with you for days afterwards. Although mono it does tickle the subwoofer, especially with it's strong baseline. Dialogue is clear but as with many Italian films of the era, it's been post synced and has that slightly muffled canned quality. It's obvious that Italian was the language on set because the lipsync is excellent. There were a couple of moments where I felt that perhaps some noise reduction had been used lending things an ever so slight underwater sound, but that may just be the nature of the track and how it has always been. Having never seen the film before, nor having access to any other video editions I assume this is the case. English subtitles are provided but nothing for the hearing impaired. Ultimately, it's ahout as good as can be expected given the nature of how it was made ('B-').


"With Michelangelo" 2005 documentary (60:26)

Enrica Antonioni's 2005 documentary about her husband. It was released two years before his death when he was very infirm due to a stroke in 1985 but sharp as a tack mentally. We see the great man painting, working with his wife helping to get what he wants gets down on the paper (he'd had a stroke whilst working on his last feature-length film, Beyond the Clouds), attending his birthday party, film festivals, holidays ... it's basically a video diary with some abstract moments. Technically it's presented in standard definition 1.33:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with surround if played through ProLogic II (etc) and is Italian and French with optional English subtitles. But, some shots look like they're meant to be 1.78:1 but have been horizontally squeezed to 1.33:1 and others are letterboxed 1.78:1 within the 1.33:1 frame. A bit of a grab bag that could've dine with a remastering job.

"Identification of a Director with Enrica Antonioni" 2021 interview (30:33)

An interview with Antonioni's widow starts by stating that she believes that the film is autobiographical despite Antonioni feeling the opposite. Enrica believes that he was going through a crisis when she knew him, there being a forty year age gap and she was 18 in 1970 when they first started seeing each other). Tomás Milián being the analogue for Antonioni and Daniela Silverio being the analogue for one of Antonioni's previous partners, a rather aristocratic British woman. She also discusses filming sex scenes, the character dynamics in the film, The Passenger and Maria Schneider, her roles in her husbands films, amongst various other topics. Interestingly, she feels that Antonioni would love making films today with the new technology like drones and lightweight cameras. However, she also feels that he wouldn't have liked the faster pace of production now. Presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

"Antonioni's Final Masterpiece" 2022 featurette (10:37)

Scottish film scholar and critic Pasquale Iannone introduces Identification of a Woman by drawing a through-line from his earlier quartet about the Italian bourgeoisie ("a tetralogy of alienation") - L'Avventura (1960 - The Adventure), La Notte (1961 - The Night), L'Eclisse (1962 - The Eclipse) and Red Desert (1964) - and their impact on the international art film scene. He covers his career as it moves to international productions such as Blow-Up (UK 1966), Zabriskie Point (USA 1970), Chung Kuo China (Italy/China 1972) and The Passenger (USA/Italy/Spain/France 1975). Also discussed is The Mystery of Oberwald (1980) and finally Identification of a Woman (1982), which returns to the themes of his Tetralogy of Alienation. A post-script if you will. Iannone then covers the making of that film in much more detail including it's more naturalistic look. We also get a career analysis of Tomás Milián, Daniela Silverio and Christine Boisson. Presented in 1080i50 1.78:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

Start-up Trailers:
- 8½ (2:06)
- Story of a Love Affair (1:17)
- The Night Porter (1:03)
- The Ape Woman (1:00)

The usual promos for other releases from CultFilms. All presented in 1080p24 all are 1.85:1 except Story of a Love Affair which is 1.37:1. All have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.

Double-Sided sleeve with a choice of artworks

The default side has a nude image and the other side doesn't. Both are in the usual, attractive frame that CultFilms use as part of this series.


Standard, clear BD Keepcase.


Michelangelo Antonioni's 1982 drama gets a very strong release from CultFilms in the UK. Image and sound are the equal of the US Criterion disc and extras are very good, particularly the introduction. The documentary and interview are a little rambling but do reward if one sticks with them. Recommended.

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: B- Extras: A- Overall: A-


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