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Criterion Collection: Red Desert
     

Criterion Collection: Red Desert

4.3 6
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

Cast: Monica Vitti, Richard Harris, Carlo Chionetti

 

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Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso) once more combines the considerable talents of director Michelangelo Antonioni and star Monica Vitti. Cast as Giuliana, an unhappy wife, Vitti suffers from an unnamed form of depression and malaise. Her quicksilver emotional shifts disturb everyone around her, but they, like she, pretend that nothing is truly wrong. British

Overview

Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso) once more combines the considerable talents of director Michelangelo Antonioni and star Monica Vitti. Cast as Giuliana, an unhappy wife, Vitti suffers from an unnamed form of depression and malaise. Her quicksilver emotional shifts disturb everyone around her, but they, like she, pretend that nothing is truly wrong. British engineer Corrado Zeller (Richard Harris) seems to understand what Giuliana is really after in life, and he acts upon it by entering into an affair with the troubled woman. Giuliana eventually comes to terms with her physical and mental pain, but this hardly means that she's "cured" in the conventional sense. Monica Vitti's sense of isolation is heightened by Antonioni's (and cinematographer Carlo DiPalma's) choice of colors, and especially by Carlo Savina's bizarre electronic musical score. This is a landmark movie in Antonioni's effort to portray alienated individuals in contemporary life; he places people against towering forms of technology to emphasize their smallness and lostness in the modern world of technological change.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
In his first color film, Michelangelo Antonioni expressively visualized the inner turmoil of a well-heeled wife as she tries to put her life together after a nervous breakdown. Beginning with the title sequence of an out-of-focus factory, Antonioni creates a near-abstract vision of modernity, replete with power stations, radar towers, merchant ships, and stark domestic interiors, drained of natural colors. Monica Vitti's Giuliana inhabits a world of smokestacks belching yellow poison, rotted brown industrial locations occasionally punctuated by brightly painted machinery, and thick gray ocean fogs that contrast sharply with the pristine blue sea and pink sands of her imagined fairy tale. Cinematographer Carlo Di Palma's shallow depth of field repeatedly folds Giuliana into the desolate, blurry landscape, yet it emphasizes her alienation by setting her off in sharp focus; she cannot comfortably exist in a world that engulfs her. The dissonant electronic score and soundtrack of noisy machinery enhances the representation of Giuliana's unease. Red Desert's extraordinary deployment of color inspired Federico Fellini, among others, to add color to his experiments with film form, while the legacy of Antonioni's study of environmental female dislocation can be felt most notably in Todd Haynes's Safe (1995), often considered one of the best American movies of the 1990s.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/22/2010
UPC:
0715515058216
Original Release:
1964
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:57:00
Sales rank:
409

Special Features

Audio commentary by Italian film scholar David Forgacs; Archival interviews with director Michelangelo Antonioni and actress Monica Vitti; Two short documentaries by Antonioni: gente del po, about a barge trip down the Po river, and nu about urban street cleaners; Dailies from the original production; Theatrical trailer; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film writer Mark Le Fanu, a reprinted interview with Antonioni conducted Jean-Luc Godard, and writings by Antonioni on gente del po and nu

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Monica Vitti Giuliana
Richard Harris Corrado Zeller
Carlo Chionetti Ugo
Xenia Valderi Linda
Rita Renoir Emilia
Aldo Grotti Max
Lili Rheims Workman's Wife
Emanuela Pala Carboni Girl in Fable
Bruno Borghi Actor
Beppe Conti Actor
Giuliano Missirini Workman
Valerio Baroleschi Valerio
Bruno Scipioni Actor

Technical Credits
Michelangelo Antonioni Director,Screenwriter
Antonio Cervi Producer
Franco Freda Special Effects
Giovanni Fusco Score Composer
Vittorio Gelmetti Score Composer
Tonino Guerra Screenwriter
Gitt Magrini Costumes/Costume Designer
Carlo Di Palma Cinematographer
Piero Poletto Art Director
Eraldo Da Roma Editor
Carlo Savina Musical Direction/Supervision

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Criterion Collection: Red Desert 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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