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Zabriskie Point (1970) - Michelangelo Antonioni

Related: American cinema - Italian cinema - 1970 - U.S. counterculture film - Michelangelo Antonioni - film

Zabriskie Point (1970) - Michelangelo Antonioni [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Pink Floyd for Zabriskie Point (1970) - Michelangelo Antonioni [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Zabriskie Point is a 1970 film by Michelangelo Antonioni. It was intended to capitalize on the U.S. counterculture movement of the time by sympathetically telling the story of a young couple -- an idealistic student, and a militant radical -- with a pointedly anti-establishment message. It stars Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin, neither of whom had any previous acting experience.

The soundtrack album, Zabriskie Point, features music from various artists, including Pink Floyd, The Youngbloods, Jerry Garcia, Roy Orbison, and the Grateful Dead.

The film was a notorious box office bomb, attacked by critics and ignored by the counterculture audience the studio, MGM, was courting. The film cost $7 million US (in 1970 dollars), and made less than $900,000. Even the booklet released with the CD version of the soundtrack was unsympathetic, declaring that "[c]ritics of all ideologies -- establishment, underground, and otherwise -- greeted the movie with howls of derision. They savaged the flat, blank performances of Antonioni's handpicked first-time stars, Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin, and assailed the script's confused, unconvincing mix of hippie-buzzword dialogue, self-righteous, militant debate, and free-love romanticism."

Ironically, some critics have speculated that it was precisely the simplistic, buzzword-heavy view of hippie life that has given the film some minor continued popularity. In the 1990s and 2000s, the film was occasionally screened on college and university campuses to young audiences curious to see a film sympathetic to the counterculture of the 1960s. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zabriskie_Point_%28film%29 [Jul 2006]

The counterculture cash-in peaked in 1970: Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil, and Nicholas Roeg's Performance raised the youth film to new heights of artistic pretension: The Strawberry Statement and a halfdozen other visions of campus revolt escaped from Hollywood; Woodstock and Gimme Shelter established the opposite poles of the ecstatic rock documentary; Federico Fellini's Satyricon displaced the counterculture to the pre-Christian era and remade Flaming Creatures in Roman drag; Michael Sarne's Myra Breckinride repackaged "camp" for the American heartland; exploitation films took on the perverse topicality of Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and John Avildsen's Joe; Paul Morrissey's Trash apotheosized the underground comedy. Still, the "Movement" which had first captured national media attention during San Francisco's 1967 "summer of love" was already in retreat as its momentum halted by the bullets of Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State in the spring of l970. In its waning days, however, the counterculture was to seize upon an obscurely mystical and grotesquely violent film by a peripatetic forty-one-year-old Latin American avantgardist and, in so doing, invent the ritual of the midnight movie.--Midnight Movies (1983) - Jeffrey Hoberman

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