A depressed wife disturbs those around her with her erratic emotions. However, everyone finds it easier to go on as though all is well. A British engineer thinks he knows what she needs when enters an illicit affair with her.
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A woman in a modern desert, her mind abuzz, but surrounded by men who are drawn to her body. That description fits just about every character Monica Vitti ever played for Antonioni, but this may be its most potent incarnation, purely for how the addition of a frenzied mental illness makes her the only one in step with a chilling industrialized world. An immediate masterpiece for a director who is so often obscure.
RED DESERT probably remains my favourite Antonioni. One could in the strictest clinical sense say the film is about neurosis, not be wrong, and still almost entirely miss the point. This is a jarring leap forward for Antonioni in that the implications of technological rationalism are made devastatingly explicit. The casually worst in me is there in rational Richard Harris's frigid entanglement w/ tormented Vitti.
Rewatch after about five years. By '64 Antonioni was synonymous with fashionable 'alienation' in cinema but here he pushed film language to the point of 'alienating' the viewer (blurred foregrounds, beams splitting frames, etc.) and created an absurdist vision of modernity that has corroded the world down into a new dark age (aphrodisiacs, disease panic, portrayal of food, etc.). A foil to Resnais' Chant du Styrene.
Monica Vitti casts quite the spell, and the barren industrial landscapes parallel her alienation and melancholy. Antonioni masterfully manipulates empty space, like in the seaside fog scene, the numerous portrait-like shots of Giuliana, and even the minimalist electronic score. Everyone mentions the lush color palette, but Red Desert really is one of the most beautiful films frame-by-frame that you can find.
Antonioni's first color film is mercilessly absent of color. Smog obscures a blurred and murky industrial hell intriguingly unbound by the director's trademark diegetic framing -- only Monica Vitti, in that green coat, remains in focus, drifting aimlessly through a sprawling, seemingly endless wasteland that is tragically indifferent to her. Fucking sublime.
"I have been sick but I shouldn't think about that; I mean, I must think that everything that happens to me it's my life. That's all"
Creio estar a desenvolver uma obsessão pela Monica Vitti, já o Antonioni é aquele amigo que sabe sempre o que te dizer quando precisas.
"I wonder if there's anywhere in this world where people go to get better."
An interesting mix experimentalism and existentialism. I think of it as a companion piece to Solaris and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even though it takes place in Italy and not in space, it's definitely an alien environment, filled with industrial noises and mysteries. The production design and the cinematography are very good. I need a second viewing to decide if I like the story, but overall, I liked its effect.
A masterpiece, plain and simple. The use of colour is fantastic here, expressing feelings of alienation, sadness and hope. Antonioni's first colour film is even more striking then Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits. I recommend seeing Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her soon after watching this, both are great films about women trying to adjust to modern life with all the constructions and noises of the city.