1970 ***** 114 mins.
Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point is a film that was a massive failure in its time. Overbudget, failing at the box office, high tension all around on set, it wasn't an easy film by any stretch of the imagination. I knew little to nothing about it going into it, though. All I knew was that there were original songs by Pink Floyd in it, and that's the main reason I wanted to see it. Audiences and critics in 1970 didn't like the film; many of them, I'm sure, didn't get the film. Antonioni is an artist, above all else, and Zabriskie Point is a great example of his artistry. It's filled with symbolism, and even what may seem to be silly, trivial, or just plain dumb is there for a reason. Antonioni plants thoughts, feelings, and ideas into the viewer that he wants to be there. These thoughts, feelings, and ideas eventually come around to be rewarded in the end. All the things critics and audiences of the time saw as amateurish or ridiculous simply shouldn't be taken at face value. There's a reason for everything we're seeing and hearing, and it creates an unforgettable motion picture experience in the viewer with an open mind.
The film centers around two young people named Mark and Daria. He's involved in political protests, revolutions, and civil unrest. She's a secretary who may just be a little more to her boss. Through a series of chance and misadventures, their paths cross in Zabriskie Point, the lowest point in the United States. There, they spend an afternoon of excitement and passion which changes them mentally and emotionally. After they part, their worlds are forever changed, and the results of their journey will swirl around in your head for the rest of your life.
I wish this film would receive a resurgence of popularity in today's society. It's the first few days of 2021 at the time of my writing this, and we have seen plenty of civil unrest in the last few years. The thoughts and themes of Zabriskie Point are just as relevant today, if not more so, than they were in 1970. Antonioni was trying to tell us something all those years ago; maybe it's time for us to listen.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Panavision).
Michelangelo Antonioni + Fred Gardner + Sam Shepard + Tonino Guerra + Clare Peploe