Warner's recent DVD release of Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 Zabriskie Point is welcome for many reasons, not least because it gives us a beautiful and anamorphically enhanced version of the film (unlike a prior French Warner release). Checking it out this morning, the film—which was widely condemned as both out-of-touch and dated at the time of its release—felt weirdly frightening and very real, albeit in an Alice Through The Looking Glass way. All that student-lefty rhetoric at the beginning of the picture concerning revolution, what one's willing to die for, all that—it seemed strangely close to the kind of thing one now sees and hears coming from the extreme right wing, in its more belligerent evocations of "Going Galt" and tea-bagging and what not. Maybe I'm just way too rattled over the killing of George Tiller, which has of course been condemned by the more putatively responsible factions of the right...but let's get real here, you don't have to scratch that surface too hard to finda substantial number of sentiments that can only be described as righteously murderous. I certainly don't want to offend my right-leaning readers. But things are strange out there, and this picture, which was once deemed a curio apropos both Antonioni's career and art film in general, now strikes me as weirdly pertinent; a refracting lens of sorts.
And a beautiful piece of cinema on its own. Antonioni's the odd man out in his own vision here; the climactic, erm, blow-up is in a sense his admission that he doesn't know how to "properly" conclude the film. His perspectives on the American landscape are both damning and exalting. His ability to create convincingly American characters is wobbly at best; his critique of materialism more existential than coherently political.
I wonder what other readers who've seen it recently make of it, and of its place in The World As It Is Today.