Zabriskie Point

Written by Joe D on May 11th, 2013

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Anyway I’m going to drive out to Zabriskie Point one of these days and check it out for myself.

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. May
    24
    9:43
    PM
    Josh

    I love Zabriskie Point. I actually went to visit because of the film. Plus the Pink Floyd soundtrack… The only soundtrack they did I believe. The images are so stark, the performances so raw. I love that girl.

  2. Jul
    20
    11:37
    AM
    harkin

    Grew up in SoCal and was a real desert rat. We used to drive out to DV every Thanksgiving and camp out. One year (mid-70s) on a full moon night we climbed Manly Beacon (the high point in the ZP sign photo) and could hear a mountain lion roaming around and screeching (it was a very dry year and it had come out of the mountains looking for water, according to the warning signs they had at the trailhead).

    One of the most memorable nights of my life - I don’t think the park service lets people climb the beacon any more so careful.

  3. Jul
    25
    9:41
    AM
    Joe D

    Thanks for the warning, I will post pictures from my trip, probably in January or maybe Thanksgiving!

  4. Jun
    6
    9:05
    AM
    Art Dibbs

    > Plus the Pink Floyd soundtrack… The only soundtrack they did I believe.

    They also did a soundtrack for “The Committee” and “More.” Oh, Obscured By Clouds was also a soundtrack album, but I’m not sure if it was used for the movie (La Vallee) - there was a falling out with the production company or something.

  5. Jun
    12
    9:01
    AM
    Joe D

    Pink Floyd did some cuts for the soundtrack, but a lot of other music was used, I have the soundtrack lp and it is great, country music, country blues, a Jerry Garcia guitar jam that was used in the orgy scene. Really cool stuff, there is also a Rolling Stones tune in the movie but not on the soundtrack lp. Probably too expensive.

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