Red Desert - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Red Desert Reviews

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½ July 16, 2014
Red Desert (1964) - 9

Grey melancholic days coat an industrial landscape where the blaze of nature has been superseded by the artificial. Backdrop for an exploration of images, sounds, contrasts, feelings, tensions, sexual liberation and social games. Giuliana is the main character; a traumatized woman unable to fit into the artificial and chaotic world around her. A very unstable and capricious personality, prone to awkward gestures and behavior. The unnatural landscape of the industrial world where Giuliana wanders, seemingly influences her strange ways. The movie exerts a dichotomy between the natural ways of humans and the corruption of the machine in our habits and environment; an aspect that reminds me Tati's Playtime. In the Italian movie, the main premise is not so much to dissect the influence of the artificial and unnatural world in our social construct, but rather to essay about the cosmetic effects of our action in the surrounding environment and about the way we deal with it. The comical stance of Tati's film is also replaced by the contemplative atmosphere of Antonioni's singular cinema, while the mental imbalance of the main character sets the pace.

The dramatic component of the movie revolves mostly around the romantic mechanics between Giuliana and engineer Corrado Zeller, close friend of Giuliana's husband, Ugo, who runs a petrochemical plant. Michelangelo Antonioni employs brutal and unapologetic honesty to portray the affair. What initially appears to be mutual interest propelled by genuine empathy and affection eventually unravels somber contours as it becomes obvious that the love plot is fueled by nothing more than Giuliana's "insanity". But the truly sinister insight is the fact that Giuliana is perfectly aware of this all the time; she is not as naïve or absent-minded as she seems. In Red Desert, we watch a perverse exploitation of feelings and expectations orchestrated, deliberately or not, by Giuliana with almost all the characters who interact with her, especially Corrado. The only character who is immune to Giuliana's web is her own son, little Valerio, who in turn appears to have inherited the Machiavellian talent of his mother and, to her dismay, subjects her to his own cunning.

All of this, wraped in the alienated and very particular cinematic style of Antonioni, leaves me with a perplexing impression of unapologetic egocentrism. Red Desert is a thoroughly egocentric construction, perhaps an inherent characteristic of Antonioni's cinematic language. This is reflected not only in the human relations as it can be extrapolated to the relationship between the characters (or us humans) and the natural environment. At a certain moment in the movie, Corrado expresses what could very well be the European Zeitgeist in the 60s or simply Antonioni's personal beliefs: "After all what does one believe in? In Humanity... in a way, in justice a little less, in progress a little more." Dead nature is omnipresent in the whole movie, except in the short fantasy segment that Giuliana chronicles to her son; the magnificent view of a nature inviolate by Men's actions has, therefore, become nothing more than mirage or utopia in the postmodern age. No one seems disturbed with the consequences of progress in the natural landscape, other than Giuliana. Maybe the character played by Monica Vitti acts as a reactive element against such thought doctrine. Thematically and ideologically loaded movie, although slightly ambiguous. Red Desert is a beautiful and fascinating cinematic essay gifted with great visual enchantment. Excellent camera work and deliberated use of colour. No technical remarks and I very much enjoyed the acting despite the dubbed voices. Red Desert goes into my favorite list. This is a wonderful masterpiece that puzzles as much as it marvels, and it's as simple as it is complex. Masterful filmmaking all around. Mandatory watch for any cinephile!
July 3, 2014
"Identification of a Woman" é um exemplo flagrante do que pode ser um filme de um realizador em crise que se permite a todo o tipo de excessos, por mais chatos que eles sejam. Antonioni estraga um pouco do que conquistou, nos anos 60, com este embrulho confuso de auto-citação, meta-narrativa, pretensões arty e intenções que terminam geralmente à deriva. E isso é uma pena, quando o cerne de "Identification of a Woman" é cheio de um erotismo que seria fascinante se o filme não se perdesse em si próprio a cada 30 minutos. As duas vezes que adormeci a vê-lo deviam ter servido de aviso.
½ June 2, 2014
What distinguishes this Italian classic is its sense of place. Here modern Italy is a bleak wasteland filled with industrialized pollution & inhabited by a woman who is incapable of experiencing a genuine connection with other people
May 30, 2014
Any film that follows up L'Avventura and L'Ecclise would pale in comparison. That being said, it makes sense that Red Desert concludes the tetralogy. More than any of the previous installments, Red Desert literalizes the tearing human struggle with oneself in a post-industrial civilization. By the end, it makes sense that Antonioni decided to film it in color. Not an entirely optimistic conclusion, but it's the only one possible.
½ February 7, 2014
Genial y única dentro de su estilo.
½ November 18, 2013
Antonioni's use of colour on film is one of the most beautiful and poetic I've ever seen. Even industrial and cold landscapes here have another dimension. And Vitti is hipnotizing. Another chef-d'oeuvre by Antonioni.
½ November 16, 2013
Monica Vitti is unforgettable and operatic in her performance as a mentally unstable wife/mother becomes a walking analogy for the environment in which she must live. Surrounded by the bleakness of destructive industrial plants and the cold interiors which have been created in the surrounding suburbs. RED DESERT was a part of Antonioni's exploration of the impacts of environment on the human condition. The point is made all the more clear by the fact that Vitti's character's condition seems to sway between insanity to a sort of general malaise. Beautifully shot and framed, this film is cinematic magic. However, it is the sort of magic that one will either love or hate. I loved it.
November 15, 2013
Fantastic to see this in blu-ray. Still working through the excellent comment track.
May 27, 2013
Great spatial cinematography
March 20, 2013
ngelo Antonioni's panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and RED DESERT, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal.
March 6, 2013
A beautiful and haunting meditation of alienation and detachment of modernity. Absolutely mind blowing cinematography, hand painted fruits, how about that fog?! A film of mystery, one for the senses. Antonioni's masterpiece.
March 1, 2013
A meditative, existential tapestry of painterly and sorrowful images. Monica Vitti gives a contained and compelling performance in this quiet, but fierce exploration of ennui and the beauty and ugliness of modernism.
½ February 25, 2013
One of the most layered forms of cinema I have seen till now ... Will not forget the island story and the overall cinematography... it really is an independent character in the film.. building up the cold depression around us..
February 8, 2013
Definitely makes you think.
September 22, 2012
A wonderful portrait of the Industrial landscape and a defiant human spirit.
September 8, 2012
Is man made to live in the modern world? Or is isolation something that we thrust upon ourselves? Antonioni offers no answers, but his meditation is beautiful and one of the most important films ever made.
September 7, 2012
A meditative, existential tapestry of painterly and sorrowful images. Monica Vitti gives a contained and compelling performance in this quiet, but fierce exploration of ennui and the beauty and ugliness of modernism.
September 4, 2012
Some have said âThe Red Desertâ? is more obscure than Malickâ(TM)s âTree of Life,â? but itâ(TM)s clear from the beginning that itâ(TM)s an indictment of technology, opening with smokestack flames and closing with their poison, highlighting the corrosion through a peaceful story of a girl swimming on the beach. (Also: precursor to Apichatpong Weerasethakhul, particularly âSyndromes and a Century.â?
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