Michelangelo Antonioni

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Cast & Crew

Director:
Michelangelo Antonioni

Writers:
Michelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra

Cinematography:
Carlo Di Palma

Initial release:
October 29, 1964 (France, Italy)

Cast:
Monica Vitti ... Giuliana
Richard Harris ... Corrado Zeller
Carlo Chionetti Ugo
Xenia Valderi ... Linda
Rita Renoir ... Emilia
Lili Rheims ... Telescope operator's wife
Aldo Grotti ... Max
Valerio Bartoleschi ... Giuliana's son
Emanuela Paola Carboni ... Girl in fable
Bruno Borghi
Beppe Conti
Julio Cotignoli
Giovanni Lolli
Hiram Mino Madonia
Giuliano Missirini ... Radio telescope operator

Filming Locations:
Incir De Paolis Studios, Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Sardinia, Italy

Texts

"Red Desert" tells the story of Giuliana (Monica Vitti), a young married woman suffering a mental and emotional crisis and embarking tentatively on an affair. Vitti, Antonioni's lover and muse, and the star of his earlier films "L'avventura", "L'eclisse" and "La notte" - gives a magnificent, startling performance. Richard Harris also stars as the restless young man who finds himself drawn to her.

Italy's industrial landscape is rendered both beautiful and apocalyptic in Antonioni's hands. "Red Desert" was a deserved winner of the Golden Lion at the 1964 Venice Film Festival and a high point in modern cinema.

UK BFI DVD + Blu-ray is the ultimate release for "Red Desert". It just can't be beaten. More details at amazon.co.uk. Direct link.

II

Colour, colour, colour. I came across Michelangelo Antonioni's work and world by accident when I caught his film "Red Desert" on TV one day. It was his first film in colour and I was just blown away by how anyone working in film could use the colours to tell the story. The colours just washed over me - it ws all visually stunning, a living, breathing work of art on the canvas of film. No-one has come close in achieving that. The cinematographer, Jack Cardiff, is the only filmaker I know with his use of colour (everything bathed in the light of Heaven) who has come any where close in using colours in such an innovative way. No surprise to later find that Michelangelo had so many things like trees painted so he could get each scene just right. Landscapes aren't an accident in his work; they are there to tell the story as surely as the actors speak the words or the writers write the write.

Astonishing.

The cinematopher of the film, Carlo Di Palma (1925-2004), should not be forgotten for his contribution.

I tried to represent the colours on the "Red Desert" pages. The pages are there to try and convey the colours - nothing else. Of course I failed but console myself with the fact that anyone attempting it would fail. There has only ever been one maestro and he died on the same day as that other great European film director, Ingmar Bergman.

Honestly, "Red Desert" is one of those films you have to see before you die. Direct links are here to its Dvd releases at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk .

© - Paul Page, 2013.

III

If, like me, you came to this film by accident your first reaction may be a superficial one. I was viewing this strange movie, speaking in tongues alien to me (I'm English so a second language might as well be Martian) with a backdrop of a lanscape that seems far, far away, and in the middle of it pops up a geezer whose a deadringer for Richard Harris. Is it him? Nah, from that angle he doesn't look like Harris enough. And he doesn't sound anything like him. But then you realise it is him! Amazing. Hollywood superstar uprooted and planted into the middle of Italy. It just gives an air of surrealness to the whole project.

And I'm pretty sure Harris didn't speak fluent Italian. He seems to have been dubbed as was all the rage in European films back then.

From what Harris said to David Hemmings (the star of "Blow-Up") he didn't get on with the director. And I remember in later life he bemoaned that he made alot of rubbish for money. But he appeared in this, a masterpiece of film-making, and few actors can boast that. One of the greatest films ever made.

© - Paul Page, 2013.

Film Poster Gallery

Posters other than "Red Desert" by Michelangelo Antonioni are here.


Red Desert Film Poster
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com


Red Desert Argentine Film Poster
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com

Red Desert Stills Gallery

I've done this gallery just to show some of the colours from the movie as they are extraordinary. No other reason. Just to show them off.


Red Desert Colour Grey
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com


Red Desert Colour Red
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com


Red Desert Colour Red B
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com


Red Desert Colour Brown
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com


Red Desert Colours Brown & Green
Direct Link: Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Posters @ amazon.com

Links

Cast & Crew >> Texts >> Red Desert >> Red Desert Film Poster Gallery >> Red Desert Stills Gallery >> Richard Harris

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