• It’s a flawed work but contains several elements that have much in common with films of masterpiece caliber
  • Flop for Antonioni- perhaps his biggest and infamously included on list of 50 worst films from Harry Medved, Dreyfuss, Medved—but it’s not that- it’s still a great film—ambitious as hell artistically even if it does not all land
  • Lead protagonist- Mark Frechette was a real-life counterculture figure and robbed a bank and was killed in prison in 1975—he’s not a great actor and although Antonioni does not need his actors to “perform” (compare the 1975 Nicholson performance in The Passenger to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) much like the models used by Bresson— this film would still be much better with a Vitti, Nicholson, Hemmings, Marcello or Delon in lead here for sure
  • Pink Floyd score, songs by Grateful Dead, Stones
  • Like Blow-Up very much of time and place- set in 1969 student rally, “dig” and “hip”- Sam Shepard co-wrote
  • Love the gorgeous soft-focus close up opening credits. People are not communicating and that is shown cinematically though film style
  • Billboard/advertising montage to abrasive industrial score
  • Love the shot of Rod Taylor (the one actor here who comes away looking good) in front of a ridiculously opulent skyscraper with American flag in background
  • Adore the shot of the secretary with the machine collapsing on top of her—his is set design or mise-en-scene bliss and architecture as character
  • Frechette looks like Peter Fonda in Easy Rider
  • Antonioni is angry and it comes across gratifyingly in most sequences- we’re bombarded with advertising
  • In the flight scenes Antonioni dwells on the California smog
  • Again, aside from Taylor the acting is distractingly bad
  • Gorgeous shot of an old timer drinking a beer at the bar
  • Long static stretches of car vs. plane playing chicken—like L’eclisse Antonioni has fallen in love with the flight sequences with not much to look at—longer here
  • The Zabriskie Point valley set piece is the new rock island from L’Avventura
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  • The dust jumps off the ground with the crisp desert photography like the fight scene in the Searchers (shown and highlighted so well in Mean Streets)
  • A standout sequence is the orgy montage set to electric guitar. It’s like the drug-trip editing montages in Easy Rider and Midnight Cowboy the year before- pretty impressive. The final shot of the lovers all over the valley is a great shot—and then dust creating a fog (Antonioni uses fog in like every film) and then back to just the two lovers
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  • Painted red bathrooms in the desert
  • Rock music on open roads- Easy Rider – not all the way there but there’s a little lovers-on-the-run genre like Bonnie & Clyde or Badlands
  • After hearing of his death, Daria Halprin stands outside green car, in green dress, amongst tall standing green cactus—beautiful
  • The final house is a hell of a set piece- couldn’t capture it with a picture here online but there’s a gorgeous shot of rocks reflecting off the glass of the house
  • Men meeting and discussing (Taylor) how to market and profit off the land with the people who used to own the land reduced to being servants/help
  • Cuts to foreshadow of explosion
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  • 17 camera set-ups in final explosion montage – we get the explosion at least 14-15 times followed by a great avant-garde expressionistic ending. Slow-motion explosions of consumer products flying in the air—this is the end game—recalls Godard’s Weekend tracking shot. Rock score, cuts to her—was it all surrealism? She drives away to Roy Orbison at sunset- fascinating work
  • Highly Recommend