RED DESERT (1964) Michelangelo Antonioni

In 1995, I had the honor of meeting Michelangelo Antonioni at the opening night gala for his film Beyond The Clouds at the AFI Film Festival. Recently, I picked up the Criterion Edition of Red Desert and it is spectacular! This is the first color film by Antonioni and the newly restored high definition transfer captures the color and textures in full glory. Antonioni's approach to the color was that of a painter.

"I want to paint the film as one paints the canvas; I want to invent the colour relationships, and not limit myself to photographing only natural colours." - Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first color film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another—of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships—Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age. - The Criterion Collection