While I don’t think Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point is quite the film accomplishment of Blow Up or Red Desert, I still think it’s a heck of an important movie and probably (along with The Passenger) much more accessible to American audiences than his earlier works. I can go on and on about how much I love Antonioni’s films…however, that’s not the point of my post.
First, for reference, here is the last 9 minutes of Zabriskie Point. About the 4:00 mark is when the final “action” begins (the house blowing up…sorry if I ruined it for you) and at 5:20 the final “scene” begins.
Now, I’ve never been particularly interested in film deconstruction so the message that Antonioni is trying to convey with his images isn’t all that important to me (I just let the power of the visuals and music work their magic on my psyche). Nor, do I have any evidence conclusively showing that Antonioni deliberately attempted to mimic Dali in the film…but the visual evidence is compelling IMO.
One of the most attractive features of Dali’s art is the amazing amount of motion and energy in many of his pictures. During Dali’s peak years of painting, movies were much more primitive than they were at the time Zabriskie Point was filmed and though Dali did try his hand at moviemaking with Luis Bunel (and this is a pretty potent effort for its time), it wasn’t technologically possible to fully translate Dali’s very complex visions into moving images.
The picture above is the one that makes the strongest case for linking Dali & Antonioni in my mind. Dali is showing motion with a series of (mostly) household objects…which is what Antonioni is doing as well. Dali wasn’t able to fully actualize the motion due to the limitations of his medium…the viewer has to infer it from the images and the context in which they were placed. Antonioni had the camera angles, a decent budget, and Pink Floyd on the soundtrack to help him “paint” his tableau. I don’t suggest that any philosophical link between Dali & Antonioni…just that Antonioni was extending Dali’s vision in order to push Antonioni’s own agenda whatever it might have been.
I’ve written about Dali before…I find his imagery (and Antonioni’s) to be very inspiring.