Zabriskie Point

Lured to the United States by an ambitious MGM, Antonioni set about coolly redefining California dreaming in this wander through a Los Angeles baking in its own heat-from both the cultures within it and the deserts that surround it. Studio executives may have hoped for some marketable sex from the counterculture plotline involving a tight-jeaned, plane-thieving rebel and a leggy, well-tanned hippie child, but Antonioni amusingly appears more aroused by the landscapes-the manmade urban realm seen and heard through a blur of industrial signs, salvage yards, and the ambient din of clattering machines and humans, and the vast natural setting just outside the city, the desert mirages of Death Valley's heat and light. Cued to an appropriately sedated soundtrack of Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia, Zabriskie Point is grounded in the realities of radical sixties American culture, and ecstatically detached-in thought, aesthetics, and narrative concerns-from the Hollywood system.

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