Saturday, April 16, 2011

520. Zabriskie Point (1970)

Running Time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Michelangelo Antonioni
Written By: Michelangelo Antonioni, Franco Rossetti, Sam Shepard, Tonino Guerra, Clare Peploe
Main Cast: Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Rod Taylor


You know as much as I disliked some of Antonioni's films, I think that it's awesome that I get to end out his series on a high note, with an amazing film like "Zabriskie Point". I went in expecting to hate it, but instead I was treated to ONE OF the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen.

Cast-wise, this is pretty much a two person film and first up we meet Mark (Frechette), a college student who takes up with a group of radicals and cites that he's "willing to die for the cause". During a student protest, many students are arrested and when Mark tries to bail some of his cohorts out of jail, he only lands himself in the clink. Upon their release, Mark and his roommate's arm themselves with guns in preparation for the next protest. During a standoff between students and police, Mark gets a clear shot at a police officer, but before he can fire, someone beats him to it. Mark runs, figuring he'll be framed for the shooting otherwise. He ends up stealing a helicopter and fleeing the scene. In the meantime, Daria is a secretary working for Mr. Lee Allen of Sunny Dunes real estate. Daria's story begins with her driving from Los Angeles to Phoenix for a business conference with her boss. Along the way, she is sidetracked by a low flying helicopter, who ultimately forces her to pull over. Inside the helicopter? - Mark.

I wasn't looking forward to "Zabriskie Point" in the slightest. I popped it in and for the next two hours was taken back to the 60s via some absolutely gorgeous photography. I was born in 1984, but I've always been fascinated by the era of the 60s. To me, there always seemed to be something magical about that time period, when some of the best musicians, filmmakers and people were rocking it in their prime. "Zabriskie Point" really gives you a peek inside the era of the "flower children".

To be honest, "Zabriskie Point" is one of those films I liked, but it's hard for me to explain why. Everything just sort of seemed to mesh together really well for me and keep me interested. I thought the scene in Zabriskie Point where Mark and Daria make love was one of the most beautiful scenes ever filmed and one of the most tactful sex scenes I've seen also. To me their was a type of freedom associated with this film. Seeing sprawling deserts and open roads, I could almost smell the fresh, dusty desert air as I watched in wonderment. It was also a movie where not everything was laid out plain as day, but I just didn't see any need to start drawing conclusions and interpretations, but rather just let the film overtake me and enjoy it for what it was on the surface.


I went into this series of six films with excitement, hoping that I'd come out with a new found favorite director. Unfortunately that wasn't the end result and what I came out with was actually a bit of jealousy. Jealousy for the people who appreciate Antonioni's films. I said in an earlier review, I wish, just for a few hours, I could borrow the eyeballs of the people that appreciate Antonioni's work and take in these films, see what they see. However, everything isn't for everyone and we all have different tastes. What I label as masterpieces, you might label as garbage and vice versa. I think the saving grace in the entire Michelangelo Antonioni watching was that I really liked one of them (Zabriskie Point) and maybe someday when I re-watch "Zabriskie Point" and like it even more, I'll say to myself, "Hey, maybe I should give his films another shot." and maybe then, with time, I can appreciate them.

RATING: 8.5/10 Beautiful film and my obvious choice for best Antonioni film of the six.


April 16, 2011 6:06pm


  1. This is also my favourite, and although I disliked the first 3 (I kinda liked Red Desert and Blow-Up), I don't think I disliked them as much as you.
    Antonioni himself said that a film that can be described by words is not a good film. Although I don't agree, I understand his point.
    His films are more about abstract things, sensations you are supposed to feel as you watch the movie, rather than a plot itself.
    I know, it's not your kind of thing, and it's not mine either, but hey, nobody forced us to star watching the 1001 movies :D

    Ultimately, I think all his movies was as well made as Zabriskie Point. He managed to make you feel what he wanted.

    In the first four you feel frustrated. In Red Desert you also feel maybe overwhelmed (and as you say, you were hoping she could kill herself, just like her!).
    In Blow-up you felt doubting reality, just like the main character.
    The difference is: you (and me) liked what you felt in ZP and not in the others :)

    1. Yep, still stand by XP as the best, although, in hindsight, I wouldn't mind rewatching some Antonioni. I watched his catalog early on in my 1001 journey and would maybe have more appreciation for them now, especially Red Desert, which I remember as being mildly good/interesting. Thank you for the reply!


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