Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point ★★★★★

To get a stronger grasp on this films ideas and intent one must first comprehend this piece of trivia: Michelangelo Antonioni's original ending was a shot of an airplane sky-writing the phrase "Fuck You, America" Venomous though it may be—and it doesn't need that last shot to drive its message home—it's a markedly seductive and inviting rendition of American socio-political structures through the lens of youthful/foreign cynicism, however patent. If the man's language is guns, you talk to him with a gun, so says a miscellaneous hippie. Antonioni's language isn't the type to end with lingering gun smoke, though watching credits roll by isn't far from it. "The audiences won't like it" MGM insisted, well, "That's the same old jive that's been run now for the past 300 years" Antonioni rebuts whilst staring out a window. [Talking over each other] might be the best subtitle quote to pick out of this in futile attempt to summarize it.


The mood here is ominously mystifying, it's a world where people answer the phones by saying "Goodbye?" and the product of your youthful romantic lust will proliferate to such a degree that the whole damn canyon will suddenly brim with other free loving romantics doing the same damn thing. The focal points here are Mark and Daria, two children of American counterculture whose acting flair comes seemingly from the school of Bresson. Ones tall with beautiful blue eyes and hair that's a little heavy on top, the other whirls her luscious mane and myriad beads with a feverous fetish for imagining the apocalypse. Both are achingly aware of the ephemeralness of their flings though Mark is the reckless nomad moving towards oblivion the fastest, their contrast easily shown through the dialogue: "It's peaceful." "It's dead." It's a crying shame both careers went the way they did because my my my, what beautiful people. The famed distanceless american desert makes for one of Antonioni's most illustrious backdrops, and that, is high praise. So is it merely a babble of incoherent meaningless as lofty critics have mused? In 1970 most would attest to the notion, but what if you wanna "end sociology"? Is the product of Antonioni's optimistic orgy of sand and lust to the tune of guitar strings desultory? Is distortion a ditty that nobody can dance to? What if the incoherence of slow motion rubble and distortion is the beautiful orchestra of Antonioni sky-writing the phrase "Fuck you, coherence."