Thursday, August 30, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni retro starts tonight

In what could only be called a synchronous unwinding of film and coincidence the Museum of Fine Arts presents every single film that Michelangelo Antonioni ever made, in the first complete retrospective of his work domestically since his death last month. (Incidentally Antonioni and Ingmar Bergman, film legends both, died on the same day.)

The retro includes his better-known films like Blow Up (The Yardbirds make a cameo here) and The Passenger (its star Jack Nicholson presented Antonioni his honorary Oscar in 1995), but also some rare documentaries, experimental and short films.
The movie that has your humble scribe stoked is Zabriskie Point, Antonioni’s second English language effort and his only pure American film. Supposedly Harrison Ford (the airport field worker) and Don Johnson (even before A Boy and His Dog) pop up in non-speaking roles. There are student riots, Black Panthers, hippie chicks, and up tight businessmen all caught in the turmoil of the late-60s as the action shifts from the big city college campus to the desolation of Death Valley. The soundtrack featuring everyone from Patti Page to The Youngbloods covers the wide span of that era’s music. At one point the action seemingly stops as a desert split-level home explodes in ultra slow motion to the psychedelic screams of Pink Floyd. This explosion sequence goes on for several minutes even as the flames become items of food and consumer products slowly coming apart at the seams. Zabriskie Point unreels September 21 while the entire series plays out starting tonight (Aug 30) to the first week in October.


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