What a cool, crazy film. As the saying goes after you make a hit, you can make anything you want. Antonioni scored with BLOW UP so he got to make this non-commercial meditation on America, Death, Existence, Time, Humanity. The opening scne is a campus meeting of Radical Students and representatives of Black Power, talking about shutting down the campus, a common occurrence back in 1969.
The way the people talk and dress is so real, they’re not actors, Antonioni used real people that he felt were right for the part. Amazing Imagery, amazing music, Pink Floyd, Jerry Garcia jamming out to images of a Love In in the desert. Roy Orbison singing about Zabriskie Point.
The desert imagery was definetly an influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, where The Bride goes out to Bud’s trailer and where she walks through the desert, even the music of that sequence seems influenced by Zabriskie Point. Here’s the Bootleg Trailer I cut with Quentin for Kill Bill , the opening music is the music I’m talking about.
Another thing, ZP ends with a big explosion, a similar ending , actually a very similar ending occurs in Robert Downey Sr.s GREASERS PALACE, a huge explosion and a very long shot of a sunset. In Zabriskie, Antonioni is playing with persistence of vision, the shot of the sunset is on the screen unchanging for a long time, then it suddenly cuts to black, this creates an afterimage on your retina, very cool, very painterly, kind of a Rothko type trick. Super Cool. Check it out for yourself. It’s a comment on how the message is getting through to us, Persistence of Vision is how movie work, or rather why they work.
Anyway I’m going to drive out to Zabriskie Point one of these days and check it out for myself.