Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Paul Fix, G.D. Spradlin, Bill Garaway
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
In a story of youthful rebellion, a young man steals an airplane and flies over the desert, where he meets a young woman and falls in love.
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Gary Fike | Las Vegas, NV USA | 03/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I give this move 5 stars for personal reasons. If you peer ever so closely at the panoramic 'orgy in the desert' shot, you will see me groaning with "her" in the sand. While there was no actual fornicating going on within my range of vision, I can tell you the gal next to me was asking out loud for it! Damn! I miss those incredibly naive, self-indulgent days. It was, I believe, October of 1968 and I was a senior in a Las Vegas high school. I answered the casting call for extras. Miracously, my father allowed me to miss a week of school to "train" with a feely-touchy dance troupe from NY. When shooting started MGM would bus us from Vegas to the Point every morning at 5am. Most of my time on the set was spent gawking at Diana, Antonioni, and all the wild movie equipment. They even imported fine silk sand to blow around. I guess Death Valley sand was not european enough. I remember Antonioni, in full archetypical director mode, chasing Mark F. off the sound set for laughing at our feeble attempts to create "love noises" for the orgy scene. HA! The setting was surreal, the weather incredible, the catered lunch edible, and the young ladies sensuous and willing in that 60's way. You know how you sometimes fantasize about going back to a time in your life that was almost perfect? Well, this is one of those times for me.
Oh, I read the Time Magazine review when the movie came out and the reviewer said, "The moral of the story? Don't help a good boy go bad. Lock your airplane, take your keys."
Since I wrote that "review" back in 1991 I had occasion to revisit Zabriskie's Point (the place, not the movie). It was my 50th birthday and my wife treated me to a stay at the famous Furnace Creek Inn.
We went over and it was as I remember it. Stunning. The only change was the parking/view area. You can no longer just drive on in to the canyons as the catering truck did back in 1968. So, while I am 'pointing and pondering' these three beautiful ladies arrive. They are talking away in some Euro language and I hear, "Antonioni". I say, "you know the movie?"
"Yes, we came to Death Valley just to see this place."
I say, "I was there when the movie was filmed".
They all came unglued and plied me with questions. Had to have a photo. My wife was bemused, to say the least. For a moment, I was once again Making Love, Not War.
I am just realizing what an effect this movie has had on so many people and how lucky I was to be even a small part of it.
The real miracle of it all is that my father let a 17 year old wanna-be hippie skip a week of school to bounce around Death Valley with a bunch of radicals. Another odd thing was that I had recently sworn off drugs and alcohol so I got to be totally "present" for the experience. From my observation, I may have been the only sober participant...!
Let's Set Some Matters Straight
L. S. Slaughter | Chapel Hill, NC | 08/07/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pursuant to reviews below, (1) John Cassavettes DID NOT DIRECT THIS FILM. (2) BLOW UP made no pretensions to being a 'crime film'- it was a perceptual mystery. (3) Mark Frechette died shortly after, and Daria Halprin is missing in action. Zabriskie Point missed its beat by about three months, when a political shift presaged its arrival and its anarchic sentiments seemed suddenly arch and dated (and remain so since, immersed in acceptable materialism as we are). Antonioni THE DIRECTOR has always been a champion of the natural world, and the intrusion of man-made things on human values and the sanctity of relationships, and he suceeded well with these themes in L'AVVENTURA, L'ECLISSE, LA NOTTE, and BLOW UP. One does sense he was slightly out of element coming to America to make ZABRISKIE POINT; it does read like an outsider looking in, and he hasn't suceeded at that as well as a UK director like John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy) managed. Always a master of sound, ZABRISKIE does offer great moments, however. Halrin and Frechette are handsome leads, and Pink Floyd's 'Heart Beat, Pig Meat' offers some wild ambient backdrop. It is not a BAD film, but rather a very flawed one; it was produced perhaps one year too late, and suffers the same dislocation other 'counter-culture' films weathered none-too-gracefully. But it's not a dog, and is still more expertly assembled AND intended than most of the worthless pop trash playing at your local HellPlex in the year 2000."
Not Everyone is a Stranger to Candy
Only-A-Child | 06/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw "ZP" during its initial theatrical release at a theater on an Air Force Base in Texas. Although it was a little more controversial than "My Fair Lady", it was not the revolutionary and subversive piece that many of its current admirers like to believe, or at least the armed forces saw fit to make it accessible to the troops. Of course that was at least in part because nobody could figure out what Antonioni was trying to communicate with this film.
So let's get real, "ZP" is neither the masterpiece its fans claim nor the hopeless morass that most casual viewers find it after their initial exposure. It has some interesting themes and some innovative techniques. It was Antonioni's only foray into America and he had been marking time for several years after "Blowup". As a foreigner he was attracted to the growing student protests on US campuses, these were already a tradition in Europe but were almost unprecedented in America.
His outsider status provided an excellent opportunity for an objective evaluation of US culture at the end of the 1960's. Unfortunately his rambling tale was too superficial to really capture the moods, atmosphere, and dynamics of this period of social change. Other films like "The Strawberry Statement", "Getting Straight", "Joe", "Medium Cool", and "Gimme Shelter" are far better time capsules.
Antonioni's screenplay (if it can be called that) is more an excuse for filming lots of ordinary things in extraordinary ways. You don't ever forget his heroine's smile as she fantasies about blowing up her lover's luxury house, with slow motion images of our materialistic society being blown over the desert. All this to the Pink Floyd's "Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up"; a retooled "Careful with That Ax, Eugene".
Antonioni was probably trying to tell us something with his film, maybe that positive change is an internal attitude thing and that violence is not the way to change the system. In 1971 the obvious message was that it was irresponsible to run away or dropout from even an extremely decadent society, that once you get your own head together the responsible thing is to return and change the system with a positive example, even if it gets you killed.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
Zabriskie Point documentary????
Peckinpah | Orlando, Fl | 05/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There was a great retrospective documentary made about Zabriskie Point in 2001. I saw it on late night cable. It is called INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST. It profiles through interviews with the crew all of productions problems associated with this film. A must see for all Zabriskie Point and Antonioni fans. I have heard that it is not on the new DVD release. Warner Brothers should include this as a special feature on the next pressing. I would love to see it again. It is an awesome account of this very flawed but still influential film."