All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
Zabriskie Point- How you get there depends on where you're at
An epic portrait of late Sixties America, as seen through the portrayal of two of its children: anthropology student Daria (who's helping a property developer build a village in the Los Angeles desert) and dropout Mark (who's wanted by the authorities for allegedly killing a policeman during a student riot)...
To get a stronger grasp on this films ideas and intent one must first comprehend this piece of trivia: Michelangelo Antonioni's original ending was a shot of an airplane sky-writing the phrase "Fuck You, America". Venomous though it may be—and it doesn't need that last shot to drive its message home—it's a markedly seductive and inviting rendition of American socio-political structures through the lense of youthful/foreign cynicism, however patent. If the man's language is guns, you talk to him with a gun, so says a miscellaneous hippie. Antonioni's language isn't the type to end with lingering gun smoke, though watching credits roll by isn't far from it. "The audiences won't like it" MGM insisted, well, "That's the same old jive…
With each viewing, its dramatic "weaknesses" recede and its pure cinematic beauty resonates more clearly.
→ Part of my Italian Summer Challenge
The counterculture undercurrents present throughout Antonioni’s career epitomize in Zabriskie Point, an alternately wistful and cynical outsider view of America that is more of an ironized dream-vision of the States. As a place where a hippie can just steal a plane and get away with it until he tries to repent, Antonioni views America as a hazily capitalist and off-centered country. The result of this impression is a confusing and multivious film whose thought-provoking trait and aesthetic supremacy make it one of the Italian master’s most inflaming, albeit frustrating, efforts.
The protagonist hippies are Mark, a witty dropout enraged by conventions and thus forever bored, and Daria, an anthropology student who comes to…
Sure, yeah, the leads are terrible and the dialogue betrays the fact that seemingly everyone with a remote connection to the project got a say in it, but this may honestly be, barring some rewatches of Antonioni films I wasn't prepared for at the time, my second favorite of his films after RED DESERT. Alternately wistful and cynical outsider view of America, a place where a hippie can just take a plane and get away with it, until he tries to repent. The callously arranged female models of BLOWUP give way to outright mannequins animated by ad companies who see people only as clotheshorse to prop up their products. Its dream-vision of the States thus ironized, it's nevertheless the most…
Zabriskie Point is rooted in the counter-culture movement that arose in American society in the 1960s. The film's February 1970 release came just six months after the Woodstock Rock Festival was held in upstate New York and three months before the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University. The peace-love "Age of Aquarius" was coming to a close and a new era of disillusionment was settling in.
Although viewed from an outside perspective, director Michelangelo Antonioni managed to capture many of the key aspects of this shift on film. He presents the rift between black and white social activists and the disdain of authority felt by students. He shows us police brutality, and he reveals the jaded realm…
Visually, it's beautiful. There are moments that are absolutely stunning to look at. But it's easy to see why it did so poorly when it first came out. It almost seems like a parody of a sixties art film. A humorless, interminable parody. The acting is baffling. The dialogue is reductive and didactic. And as far as character development goes, it seems to be the story of a girl who gets a sense of anti-capitalism fucked into her by a guy who paints a plane like a hippy bus and then wonders out loud if people might mistake it for a mythical bird. It's not as oppressive as Red Desert, but it's not as dynamically engrossing as Blow-Up. I really…
Antonioni's report from America at the end of the 60s is obviously a flawed work, but it remains an interesting snapshot of its time. The story is slight and silly, and the naive pretentiousness of the whole endeavour is hard to escape - the hallucinatory orgy scenes in the desert are still embarrassing. Visually, the film is stunning, though; like Jacques Demy in Model Shop, Antonioni is besotted with the streetscapes of Los Angeles, and his outsider's eye captures the culture from strange angles. The images of Death Valley are beautiful. The soundtrack is great; the final apocalyptic vision in which the desert hotel explodes over and over manages to be both ridiculous and somehow pretty cool.
Rose coloured glasses have painted this film as a classic of the counter culture period but it is a mess in nearly any way that we judge cinema. It meanders along in a dreamlike haze and being beautiful (not surprising in an Antonioni film) is not enough to save it.
Antonioni originally wanted to end it with a sky written "Fuck you America" not that this heavy handed piece of propaganda needed that. The films' beginning is so annoying and inarticulate that it makes it hard to even watch but then soon enters into long shots of sky canopy and desert scenery that drag on for minutes.
The leads are beautiful and look the part and also fittingly, like they…
Antonioni points the camera at America and its consumerism values. The beginning is a campus pow-wow which never becomes interesting and the movie doesn't gain any traction beyond the nice billboard shot until the two leads are in her car and his plane and the camera turns to Death Valley topography. These leads don't match Vitti, Mastroianni, Moreau, and Delon, so the film can never play the emotion/architecture-environment Antonioni trademark card with as much impact as in his early 60s films. There's one unquestionably great sequence, at the end, when the destruction of a house and contents rips by in slow motion to the perfect Pink Floyd accompaniment. It's late-70s counter-culture in a 6-minute montage and one of the heights of its genre.
I like the ending a lot. It was nice seeing all the floating debris on a big screen.
I guess this was a movie.
The Star-Spangled Desert
Much ballyhoo is made over this feature, but to me it's very similar to every other Antonioni I've had the pleasure of viewing. It's not my favorite Antonioni though. With him you have to accept a certain amount of tedium for the reward of oft-stunning cinema. Here the tedious moments outweigh the stunning ones, whereas L'avventura (1960) for example is stunning practically throughout. I've heard many watch for the staggering desert shots, but the cinematography in Los Angeles is even more impressive.
I was less infatuated with the docu-drama beginning (BIG STATEMENTS ABOUT COUNTER-CULTURE AND THE HIPPIE MOVEMENT) than I was the poetic end of exploding fridges and condos, along with the desert orgies. Did I mention stuff blows up in this film?
Zabriskie Point, containing great music by Roy Orbison and Pink Floyd, mostly overcomes its weakness as a BIG IDEAS story to become something quite sublime. Frankly, I love it.
This is lesser Antonioni, but still better than most art films, because it actually speaks to a time and place. Antonioni has always been more about image and editing (both sound and film) than writing, but never before was it this evident for me. His imagery is poetic and wonderful, but the stilted characters let me see why this was such a panned film. Really, I think it has aged quite well, existing as a time capsule as well as a memorable artistic statement.
Everyone has to start somewhere and although there might be quite a few great lists that introduce people to foreign…