short film reviews, criticism, and occasional musing.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Zabriskie Point (1970, USA/Italian)

I'll admit it - Zabriskie Point is my first Antonioni film. Perhaps an odd choice to start with, but it was brought to my attention by watching Los Angeles Plays Itself, which noted Antonioni's loving cinematography of Southern California in the late 1960s.

Zabriskie certainly is reverent of its setting - the Los Angeles parts reminded me of nothing so much as Ed Ruscha's early work, and are some of the most realistic depictions of L.A. city streets I've ever seen. The desert scenes are absolutely gorgeous, and if you're lucky, like I was, you'll see them on the big screen. Zabriskie is also reverent of its subject, the hippie/countercultre movement, even if it stands somewhat at a distance from it. I've seen a ton of films from and on the sixties, and I've got to say that Zabriskie just feels right - whether Antonioni is letting the camera move slowly around a campus revolutionary meeting or capturing a desert love-in, the atmosphere is tangible. A good thing, too, since the script is nothing to speak of (possibly because no less than 5 writers had a part in it), and the performances aren't any better.

So as not to spoil anyone, I won't get into the ending, except to say that though it came as something of a shock, and I'm still not entirely sure what it means, it might be one of the loveliest 5 minute sequences I've seen on the screen in a long time.


Post a Comment

<< Home