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Il Deserto Rosso (The Red Desert)

Posted by martinteller on May 30, 2008

Antonioni isn’t necessarily a lot like Bergman, but they kind of dwell in the same realm.  And it’s no surprise to me that his most Bergmanesque film (at least, of what I’ve seen) would be my favorite.  With its story of a woman veering over the edge of sanity, I couldn’t help but think of Through a Glass Darkly, and also shades of Face to Face and perhaps even The Silence.  In fact, Monica Vitti even looks quite a bit like Ingrid Thulin.  And her performance is riveting (although I’d say Richard Harris was wasted).  The whole thing is incredibly thoughtful and nuanced, giving you much to absorb and appreciate without overwhelming you.  The cinematography is the best I’ve seen in an Antonioni film, with bold color and heaps of haunting images.  And the sound design is an unsettling mix of industrial hum and electronic noise.  I also found this to be the most emotionally involved of his movies, which is one reason why I connected with it more than I usually do.  Beautiful and strange and definitely worth coming back to.  Rating: 9


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