Zabriskie Point (1970)

Zabriskie Point (1970), directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.

At last! After decades of stalling I have finally seen Zabriskie Point. As Zonker used to say in Doonesbury: I didn't think I was old enough.

The photography is just gorgeous in spots. The content is more of a problem.

It seems to be a celebration of youthful revolution, counterculture, and a rejection of all the evils of America. According to this vision, what is Good: the young, freedom, cleansing violence, sex and weed. What is Bad: age, authority, the police, business, tacky consumer goods.

The plot is unhurried and meandering, but in summary we have:

Either time has changed our perspective on this story or the director is more subtle than I had imagined. With time the normal, un-hip people seem more interesting and sympathetic: the old and poor, the blue-collar workers. When the police are processing some protesters, one gives his name as "Karl Marx" and the cop not only believes it (laughter), he spells it C-A-R-L (more laughter). It's like Norman Lear kicking Archie Bunker in the gut year after year.

One arrestee gives his occupation as "Associate Professor of History". The cop says "That's too long. I'll put down 'Clerk'". Did Antonioni see that the humor goes both ways here?

The movie was a complete bomb at the box office. I had the soundtrack on vinyl ages ago (probably bought it for the cover art:

...but remembered nothing about it. We have Pink Floyd, Jerry Garcia, others.

The young lovers had never acted before and did little acting after. They tried to live the movie afterwards, with tragic results.

Wasn't this announced for Blu-ray? I'm not seeing it on the lists now. The DVD is rather fine and I think a Blu-ray could be stunning.