- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Eyes and Ears
- Murray Gilkeson
As another reviewer wrote, this is a visually stunning picture, much of which takes place in Death Valley. The plot is kind of thin, and the dialogue as noted, is not exceptional, but the soundtrack is unique and phenomenal. The music is all the more interesting, in that it was chosen by an Italian director, selecting American music of the time. The Youngbloods, Kaleidoscope, and Pink Floyd are inspired choices with Jerry Garcia's guitar in the desert love theme, a true highlight. "You Got The Silver," by the Stones and "Dark Star" by the Dead (short version) are nice touches. Antonioni's second English-language film (after "Blowup"), "Zabriskie Point" was considered a bomb, but if you don't expect much of the story (which featured two amateur leads for "realism"), and are able to see this on the big screen somewhere, you will be pleasantly surprised.
I thought of Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout, from 1971.
Thank you TCM! (*Minor Spoilers*)
Oh how I wish I'd seen this years ago, as I would've loved to do a paper on it in uni, but thank you, TCM, for airing it now. Please do show it again soon, as I'm sure there are lots of subtle details I missed. A few favourites I did catch: student revolutionaries all so earnestly, loudly, proclaiming their beliefs none can be heard; grumpy old farts complaining about younger generation while ignoring the children without guidance going feral outside the diner; the heroine finding solace in a artificial/natural waterfall in the desert. It's especially fun to try to figure out how much is Hollywood hype & how much is truly a reflection of the times, for those of us who didn't experience them directly. And the artistic flourishes-the cinematography, the orgy, the finale-all make me wonder why it wasn't more popular upon initial release. It is one cult classic that's still a pleasure now.(A sudden thought while writing this review: Did Peter Weir see this film before making "Picnic at Hanging Rock"? There's something ineffable about the excursions that's similar.)
In the early 70's, MGM was in very perilous straits, philosophically and financially. While other studios took daring risks with unknown directors and subjects, they were still seen as the people who made brassy, old fashioned musicals your parents (and grandparents) went to. After working with Stanley Kubrick on "2001", MGM went a step further and hired Italian director Michelangelo Antonini for "Zabriskie Point". This is a very strange, yet visually stunning film where Antonini mixes radical politics with an often scathing take on American consumerism. Would-be college revolutionary Mark finds himself on the run when he is caught up in a student riot that makes him a prime suspect in the shooting of a Police Officer. In a what-the-hey moment, he steals a plane and heads for the desert where he meets young Daria, cruising through the desert in a rusty old car. From there they have what can best be described as an avant-garde time of passion in the desert before he departs for an inevitable confrontation with authority. But unlike Mark, her confrontation comes in her mind as she imagines the explosive demise of the symbols of wealth and authority she sees every day that killed her friend. The subplot involving her and a developer who has big plans for an untouched portion of the desert is touched upon only enough for the viewer to equate him with the authority and wealth she'd like to destroy. There isn't a tremendous amount of revealing dialogue here as you might expect and the ending is sure to confuse anyone. Visually though, this is something else, especially the explosive ending set to the music of a pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd.