Thursday, June 30, 2011

#345: Red Desert

1964, TSPDT Rank #284

Antonioni, as a director, is one of the great transmitters of emotions. Often the themes he deals in are alienation and neurosis, but his films are always very subtle and nuanced in the way they portray these themes. This was Antonioni's first color film, and he wastes no available resources in creating a stifling but harshly beautiful industrial wasteland. Red Desert is a perfect example of what I think people find difficult about Antonioni's films: there's never a lot going on on the surface - it's all about the atmosphere and feeling you get from the whole thing. In this movie, by observing the colors, the landscape, the sounds (and letting your senses do the work); you come to understand the plight of the main character (Monica Vitti, Antonioni's cinematic muse in the early to mid '60s) indirectly. The plot, on a basic level, is one of alienation, infidelity, and a struggle to connect with one's surroundings - which, in typical Antonioni, says a lot about human nature and relationships in general underneath the surface. Red Desert is classic Antonioni, not his best film, but a great example of what his statement to the world was with his work, and an ideal extension or introduction to his style.

(Rating: 8/10)

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