Red Desert

2657. RED DESERT (1964-France-ltaly) COLOR. With MONICA VITTI, RICHARD HARRIS. Directed and co-scripted by MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI. Antonioni is a master film director, a true artist of the screen whose canvas is celluloid and who paints in light and shadow. This is the director’s first color film and it is a masterpiece: a deeply personal and profoundly moving drama of life in our modern industrial society. The leading player is Monica Vitti, an alluring Rome-born actress who was a frequent star for Antonioni in the 1960s. The setting is what may be best described as a vast industrial wasteland. Vitti offers a brilliantly detailed performance as Giuliana, a woman with a young son who is married to an electronics engineer. She is alienated from her surroundings and is in a constant state of paranoia; she suffers from endless nightmares as she searches for a meaning and a purpose to her life. This inquiry leads her to an involvement with Corrado, a mining engineer (played by a strikingly young Richard Harris). The scenario profoundly reflects on Antonioni’s deep concerns with modern technology and the fumes which spew forth from factories, and the manner in which they impact not only on the physical health of the individual, but on the spirit and the soul. From start to finish, it is crammed with dazzling, meticulously composed images that will remain in the mind long after the final frames. Highly recommended. In Italian with English subtitles. Letterboxed. 117 minutes. Drama