What’s the Zabriskie Point?

Not a big fan of Antonioni’s Blow Up, so why would I watch another of his English language films?  Because occasionally I feel the urge to see those films that I always heard about as a kid, but never could see.  No DVDs, no VHS, no cable TV…  Zabriskie point is one of those, brought to my attention by a near insane friend of mine.

It begins as an almost vérité exercise in cinema, showing a raucous meeting of college radicals in 1970, planning a strike to shut down their university.  One good looking disaffected participant declares his readiness to die for the cause, of boredom, and walks out.  Later, during a riot, he draws a bead on a cop with a gun, but someone else shoots.  The kid runs, now a suspect in the murder he didn’t commit.  He steals a small airplane and flies to Death Valley where he meets up with a hippie secretary driving to her real estate developer boss’s desert mansion.  They play, they love, he returns to LA and is shot for no good reason, while she, despondent over the radio reports of his death, fantasizes the ultimate in revolutionary armageddon.

The film makes little sense, and it almost laughable in some ways.  Wikipedia reports that it is widely considered as one of the worst cinema disasters in history.  It is amazing to watch at times, however, for MA knew what he was doing with a camera!.   Let’s just say it’s one European’s love letter to the American landscape.

I enjoyed the scenes of the southern California industrial landscape and the street scenes, c. 1970.  Took me back a bit once again.

Some images from the film:

A clever sequence in which some mannequin-like suits watch rushes of some new commercials for their desert homes development featuring dressed up dummies.

Out in the dessert, at Zabriskie Point, in fact, the young couple gets to know one another.  She: “This is such a beautiful place. What do you think?”  He: “I think it’s dead.

The desert is an amazing place.  Cinematography is wonderful.  Aren’t those copulating couples hot??

An amazing house her boss has.  Why does she drive an old Buick?  Is that the good old days of consumerism?

We get to see this several times from many angles.  Must have cost a pretty penny to bring it off so well.

Dreaming?  A girl’s gotta dream!

Your whole world is going too.

Just in case you thought that didn’t include all those books you read!  Background music by Pink Floyd.

Ahhh!  Where there’s destruction, there’s hope.

The sunset, and Roy Orbison’s music heals all.

 

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7 Responses to What’s the Zabriskie Point?

  1. Ducky's here says:

    So Giuliana from “The Red Desert” found a way to deal with her madness and come to grips with the post industrial landscape.

    It was pretty clear she’d have to destroy it. Pity it isn’t that easy.

  2. Guy Savage says:

    I’m not much of a fan of this director either. There are always so many films to watch, I don’t imagine I’ll get around to it.

    Nice pictures though.

  3. lichanos says:

    Nice pictures though.

    It looks great! That’s why I made it to the end, and the local LA color. Guy had/has? talent, no question.

    Actually, I dimly recall enjoying L’aventura…

  4. I’m currently watching a Chabrol film, Masques. Not his best by any means, a little stagey, but still interesting.

  5. Ducky's here says:

    Anyone who passes on Antonioni’s Le Amiche is making a SERIOUS mistake.

  6. Now that one (Le Amiche) has some appeal. And it’s on netflix.

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