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April 07, 2009


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Ryland Walker Knight

Sometimes I think _Zabriskie Point_ is THE Antonioni film. I know that's kinda silly, but, then again, I think the film's looseness is one of its greatest virtues. And, of course, that explosion is pretty dope. Still, no Vitti... hmn, Vitti...


I finally get to see "Marienbad" without dropping 30 bucks for an import DVD. I am very excited. I better like the damn film after all this wait.


I thought Zabriskie Point, though fascinating, was not very good at all. And yet...

The ending is one of my favorite scenes in movie history. Maybe, just maybe, my very favorite scene, period. As such, I'd buy the DVD in a flash.

Glenn Kenny

MovieMan, I used to be with you—thinking the ending was amazing, and the rest of the movie highly problematic. And it is highly problematic. But as I said above, the more I see it, the more I admire it. Maybe it has something to do with the distance the film now has from an American counterculture that Antonioni, finally, did not understand. Watching today, the characters could be free-standing archetypes of alienation rather than emblems of a potential revolution. I'll write more on this when the DVD actually appears...

Ryland Walker Knight

Aye: "free-standing archetypes"

I mean, if you've seen the ending, it should be pretty obvio the film isn't after any kind of representative quality. He (or it) isn't even after "objectification" either. Things are things are trash. That goes for revolutions, too, apparently. Sometimes, the trash is pretty, and goofy, and naked. I think it's mostly "about" the volatility of the image, if it's "about" anything.

All that typed, I've only seen the film once, and that was during my first stint in NYC at a mid-afternoon screening at BAM that I skipped work to attend. Needless to say: Can't wait for the disc.

Bruce Reid

A favorite of mine as well, warts and all. (For a director so sparing with jokes--though they're there all right--"Carl Marks" is too much of a groaner to let in under the wire.)

Serious question: Antonioni of course didn't want music playing during the justly famous setpiece that ends the film. Now that I'll finally own a copy, am I the only one that will honor his wishes and hit the mute button on one or two viewings, but let it play out with Pink Floyd's fantastically appropriate screeches and wailings most of the time?


Bruce, I was not aware that Antonioni didn't want music playing during the bravura finale. It had seemed surprising that he scored the scene, and even more surprising that he would have made such a hip choice as pre-Dark Side post-Barret Floyd. Now I know why it was surprising.

I can't say the ending doesn't work without the score - those images are so gorgeous that the sequence would probably explode off the screen to the sound of "Margaritaville". But I don't hesitate to say that the inclusion of "Pink Floyd's fantastically appropriate screeches and wailings" especially the first section where the music is slowly building up to its apocalyptic climax, a sense of the storm rising while Wonder Broad cauterwalts through the endless air and the empty shirts dance in descent...well, I don't hesitate to say that said inclusion probably doubles the "fucking awesome" quotient of this great scene.

As I said, I'll probably buy the movie when it comes out but I'll also probably watch the ending way more than the entire movie all the way through.

By the way, when is Red Desert coming out in Region 1...or did I miss that release?


@Bruce Reid: Is it possible that you are conflating the explosion sequence music (Pink Floyd's "Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up", basically a version of "Careful With That Axe, Eugene") and the music that comes after the sequence, that is, "So Young" by Roy Orbison?

This detailed article (http://www.phinnweb.org/links/cinema/directors/antonioni/zabriskie/) about the music of ZP does explicitly mention that MGM tacked on "So Young" behind Antonioni's back but is silent on any similar interference WRT to the explosion music—actually, this passage from the article seems to suggest the oppposite:

"Nevertheless, "So Young" was literally pasted on to the picture, probably after Antonioni delivered what he believed to be the completed product. The song is not even listed with the rest of the musical performances in the movie's opening credits. "I didn't know anything about that song," says Hall, "until I went to one of the first actual public showings of the film, at a theater in Westwood in Los Angeles. At the end of the movie, we had the explosion music, which I thought was quite effective. Then, all of a sudden, there was a freeze frame -- I went 'What the hell?' -- and all of a sudden this droning sound came out of the speakers. I love Roy Orbison. But, my God, it's a horrible song.""

Free Movies

Funny but I never heard of this movie- I guess it's because I was born about 15 years after it was shot :) But I would sure love to watch it, Zabriskie Point going straigh to my "MUST WATCH" list :)

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