Zabriskie Point Screen 13 articles

Zabriskie Point

1970

Zabriskie Point Poster
  • The film is at its best in the first hour when nothing happens, and in the spiritual explosion of materialistic shrapnel in the last 10 minutes when nothing matters. Disastrously in between are the absolutely wretched youngsters Frechette and Halprin, who cause a fatal rupture when their bedraggled, inexpressive drama fails to feed life into a brilliantly lyrical documentary.

  • Quite unlike the complex ambiguity of Blow-Up, the story of Zabriskie Point has a considerable vagueness located in its simplicity. It clearly constructs a negative image of authority and materialism, but its converse handling of revolutionary students is not especially exciting or engaging. That leaves the most compelling centres of the film as its two fantasy sequences.

  • The film is ultimately a collage of perfections: the exuberant long shot of plane chasing car across the screen, the spiraling requiem over the plane as its young pilot dies, and, most memorable of all, the slow motion explosions in which a refrigerator flings out a galaxy of incongruously airborne foodstuffs and books take wing like a flock of birds... The fact that Antonioni's searchers never reach their objectives has suddenly, for the first time in his career, become something to celebrate.

  • As either a plausible romance about disaffected youth or as a documentary rendering of 1969 America, it's often ludicrous. But one keeps in mind that Antonioni thinks through his camera more than through his scripts — and that realism is far from his intention — one can see this film as an astonishingly beautiful achievement... Approached as an allegorical fantasy or as science fiction about the present, the film becomes a poetic meditation about a dream America in a state of crisis.

  • Early on, there's an eerie montage of billboard ads that's equal parts Pop Art and experimental film; it sets the stage for the final sequence, a series of slow-motion explosions that leaves audiences dead silent.

  • One of the most provocative, problematic, and eye-popping films in Antonioni's oeuvre, 1970's Zabriskie Point is a film that grows riper for reassessment the further it gets, temporally, from the counter-culture milieu in which it was set and made and which it seemed to utterly fail to "get" at the time. Freed from the demands for verisimilitude that seemed built into the project at the time, it's mutated into something less awkward, more enigmatic.

  • The story may be familiar, but Antonioni's formal sensibility is still groundbreaking.

  • All this rancor is a little hard to fathom today. Recently issued on DVD for the first time by Warner Home Video, Zabriskie Point is of a piece with Antonioni's best work: a luxuriant portrait of spiritual alienation with a sense of place far more expressive than its blankly beautiful characters.

  • It’s a movie about politicized students, and it takes seriously the conflicting drives for effective protest and comprehensive revolution, for concerted action and personal fulfillment, for a rich community life and transcendent inner vision. It is—as all of Antonioni’s best movies are—a work of philosophy in cinematic form.

  • In L'eclisse, as the lovers drifted apart for no real reason, the style of the movie itself altered from heady, stylised realism to stark experimental tableaux. The same happens here, as Zabriskie Point begins as a faux-documentary, mutates into a neo-western, embraces Euro erotica (prefiguring the director's more Vasaline-lensed later work) and then climaxes as a strident, slow-motion video art blitzkrieg on consumer culture. It displays the same brash impulsiveness as the story's hero

  • Antonioni’s poetics involve a telescoping of not simply the world of objects and their place in the everyday but the very concrete richness of objects in their materiality and their transformation through time and space. For Antonioni, it’s all about tracing the line, the curve, and the tone, and the process of re-figuration.

  • It's unfortunately more timely than ever in light of the American public's unfortunate belief that by electing a millionaire, money will rain from the heavens and the land might become the sole province of white men. The Antoinioni hero's search for solace and self-annihilation sometimes feels the only sane response to our increasingly insane world.

  • Today it feels like a monumental film, one that expertly captures the surreal chaos of America in the 1960s with scenes of revolutionary meetings, police crackdowns, Death Valley orgies, and that sublime, unforgettable climax — in which the eye-popping detonation of an elegant mountain home is replayed and replayed and eventually replaced by the slow-motion explosion of all sorts of material goods, from refrigerators to clothing racks to TVs to books.

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