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also known as Il deserto rosso

Red Desert1964

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  • 4.3
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and RED DESERT, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age, about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband's coworker, played by Richard Harris, continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another (of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships) RED DESERT creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema's preeminent poet of the modern age.

Member Reviews (2)

top reviewer

The Antonioni/Vitti break-up film. After three classics (the "ennui trilogy"), where could this creative couple go next, particularly since "L'eclisse", the last film of the trilogy, was such a mind-bending masterpiece, STILL fresh and insightful even today? Neurosis, that's where. Antonioni decided to make an ecology film (certainly prescient, granted), and he shamelessly utilized Vitti as the projection of his fears, while throwing in a few references to the "eros is sick" theme of the trilogy to keep the festival fans happy. The end result? A transitional film that is sometimes a bit unsure of itself, not without genuine magic here and there (particularly in the use of fog as a metaphor for Vitti's neurosis), but IMHO, Vitti and "the Maestro" had rocks in their bed, and imbued this dissolute energy into the film. This actually works for them, but compared to the trilogy, it's a bit dreary for my taste. 3.5 stars

top reviewer

totally loved it the 1st time i saw it_still an amazing wonderful beautiful strange film of a barren toxic landscape_and a woman Monica Vitti who has lost herself in fear....touch me am i real are you....i love Monica Vitti_still love the film even the parts that don't seem to work_and the cinematography is great_this film is about seeing & being