The 1001 Movies Podcast

From Jonathan Rosenbaum, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die:

"Michelangelo Antonioni's first feature in color remains a high-water mark for using color.  To get the precise hues he wanted, Antonioni had entire fields painted.  Restored prints make it clear why audiences were so excited by his innovations, not only for his expressive use of color, but also his striking editing.  Red Desert comes at the tail end of Antonioni's most fertile period, immediately after his remarkable trilogy The Adventure (1960), The Night (1960), and The Eclipse (1962).  Although Red Desert may fall somewhat short of the first and last of these earlier classics. the film's ecological concerns look a lot more prescient today than they seemed at the time of its initial release.

"Monica Vitti plays a neurotic married woman (Giuliana) attracted to industrialist Richard Harris.  Antonioni does eerie, memorable work with the industrial shapes and colors that surround her, shown alternately as threatening and beautiful as she walks through a science-fiction landscape.  Like any self-respecting Antonioni heroine, she is looking for love and meaning - and finds sex.  In one sequence a postcoital melancholy is strikingly conveyed via an expressionist use of color, following Giuliana's shifting moods.

"The film's most spellbinding sequence depicts a pantheistic, utopian fantasy of innocence, which the heroine recounts to her ailing son, implicitly offering a beautiful girl and a beautiful sea as an alternative to the troubled woman and the industrial red desert of the title."

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Direct download: Episode_91_Red_Desert_1964.mp3
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