Zabriskie Point (Antonioni, 1970)

Antonioni uses sound in ways I’ve still yet to fully comprehend, and Zabriskie Point exemplifies a layering of audio that creates a constant clash with image, a great parallel to the conflict between establishment capitalism and militant reactionary motivations at odds throughout the film. Story takes a back seat, but Antonioni wants to deliver a series of volatile situations, which aided by his complicated sound track (including the awesome music by Pink Floyd), shows the fragmented nature of the protesters dissatisfaction with the moral majority and the mainstream response falling short of any sensitivity to human rights. Antonioni’s examples are extreme, making the young couple, Mark and Daria’s experience together in the middle of the desert that much more transcendent. I’ve never seen a love making scene filmed like this; including alternative bodies existing on the same level of consciousness as the young couple, amidst the same dusty environment, feeling the same dissatisfaction with “normal life”, so happy to have found each other, all invisible to anyone else. Antonioni’s films the unforgettable plane sequence and the desert shots with a mixture of wide angle masters and wandering zooms. While not as scathing a political indictment as The Passenger or Blow Up, Zabriskie Point shows Anotnioni has a lot to say about the contradictions in both the capitalist pigs and the left wing nuts, ending on the consequences of such misunderstandings with an explosive finish.

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