It's funny how Antonioni can express both the poetic and disparaging side of industrialization, call it "spiritual desolation." Almost an apocalyptic future, then again most of Antonioni's films are like abstract art. With captivating and intimate performances of Monica Vitti and the late great Richard Harris.
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.
From the opening shots to the last scene, this film tinkers on the edge of sanity. Both unnerving and edgy, it must be one of the earliest films to address mental illness this way. The film is also daring and refuses to gather speed for restful audiences, instead it plods along slowly, casting its very unique spell on all those who allow themselves to be conscious of its many depths. Monica Vitti is spellbinding.
Giuliana, épouse d'un directeur d'usine, a été très éprouvée par un récent accident de voiture. Il lui arrive souvent d'errer parmi les machines. Elle y rencontre Corrado Zeller, le meilleur ami de son mari qui lui aussi se sent perdu : ils sont vivement attirés l'un par l'autre ..... www.cinefiches.com
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.
With the words "there is something terrible about reality" the protagonist Gulianna expresses a profound and yet ineffable perturbation. This is awesomely acted by Monica Vitti. With the brilliance of colour finally at his fingertips, Antonioni fills each shot with a masterful description of wasteland, chance beauty, symbolism. Film and music are elevated to a new brilliance of unity with Fusco's haunting score.
Not an easy movie to watch. But once again, not every movie are supposed to be easy to watch. Want to talk about a great movie about alienation & depression, there you have it. Monica Vitti's best performance in my opinion. If you survive the 15 first minutes, then you won't be able to lay off your eyes from the screen. very special movie.
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.