Vittoria breaks up with one lover, but soons finds Piero, a handsome stockbroker by whom, after initial hesitation, she is happy to be seduced. Is she in love with him? Can anyone feel love in the modern, dehumanised world?
At a time when French New Wavers were romanticising Paris, Michelangelo Antonioni was intent on showing that even a city as eternally vibrant as Rome could dehumanise inhabitants with seemingly everything to live for.
Consequently, the setting becomes as important a character as Monica Vitti's commitment-shy translator or Alain Delon's suave stockbroker, and Antonioni packs scenes of frantic activity or intense contemplation with a symbolic significance that makes the isolation imposed by modernity all the more tragic.
Pauline Kael once dubbed this austere drama "Some Like It Cold". But the concluding part of the "alienation" trilogy that commenced with L'Avventura (1960) and La Notte (1961) was never likely to be a study in emotional warmth.