Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point ★★★

A lot of Zabriskie Point seemed like its deliberate aim was to disorient: in many sequences, I had no idea who the characters were or what they were doing. Part of this lies in Antonioni’s insistence in staging elaborate transportation sequences, be it by plane, train, or automobile. At one point a character even hijacks a plane (not in a terrorizing way, rather by way of arbitrary mischief). I had the thought of what the next step is after you steal a plane from a hanger, what could be the next development in such a scheme…?

The beginning of the film intensely reminded me of the same sentiment and ethos exhibited by Drive, He Said (one of two glorious movies filmed in my adopted home Eugene), but the former’s themes rapidly diverged and went out of focus. One particular theme came into array later via horrendous depictions of unjustified police brutality, which holds equal if not more relevance in this day and age compared to 1970.

Despite watching it with a friend our combined deduction of the plot proved insufficient to connect Antonioni’s provocatively elusive narrative, and at one point there was a tangible transition where we suddenly were watching a good “bad” movie. We would be talking for a few moments, look back on the screen and suddenly there is an elaborate and very erotic sand orgy scene in the middle of a canyon.

The film’s aimlessness aside, the editing and cinematography were distinctly amazing. On multiple occasions I was nearly hypnotized by the long, intricate montage sequences, and the DP+Antonioni’s eye for framing and where the next shot would come from was certainly a cryptic trip.

I am very curious to hear from someone who is impassioned by Zabriskie Point’s energy and eclectic nature: I cannot determine for myself whether I liked or despised it.

Also that explosion scene… Sublime is the only word suitable for its description. IMDb proclaims that there were over a dozen camera setups which is righteous; the best part is that when it happens (at least for me) you have no conception of any possible motive.

Awesome and also awful, Zabriskie Point was absolutely worth the bizarre cinematic journey.

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