RED DESERT (1964)

RED DESERT (1964)

The Plaza Theatre (map)

RED DESERT | Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni | 1964 | 117 min
Presented in Italian with English subtitles

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960's panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first colour film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another—of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships—Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age. – the Criterion Collection

Awards
1964 VENICE FILM FESTIVAL - WINNER (FIPRESCI Prize | Michelangelo Antonioni, Golden Lion | Michelangelo Antonioni, New Cinema Award, Best Film | Michelangelo Antonioni) 
1965 NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS - 2ND PLACE (NYFCC Award, Best Foreign Language Film | Italy)
1965 GOLDEN GOBLETS, ITALY - WINNER (Golden Cup | Angelo Rizzoli , Golden Goblet | Best Actress, Monica Vitti)
1965 ITALIAN NATIONAL SYNDICATE OF FILM JOURNALISTS  - WINNER (Silver Ribbon, Best Cinematography, Color | Carlo Di Palma), NOMINATED (Silver Ribbon, Best Director | Michelangelo Antonioni, Best Score | Giovanni Fusco) 
1967 KANSAS CITY FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS - WINNER (KCFCC Award | Best Foreign Film)

Red Desert is the first work in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.

WALKABOUT (1971)

WALKABOUT (1971)

The Globe Cinema (map)

WALKABOUT | Dir. Nicolas Roeg | 1971 | 100 min

Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960's panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first colour film, is perhaps his most epochal. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age—about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti, wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband’s coworker, played by Richard Harris—continues to keep viewers spellbound. With one startling, painterly composition after another—of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, looming docked ships—Red Desert creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema’s preeminent poet of the modern age. – the Criterion Collection

Awards
1971 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - NOMINATION (Palme d'Or | Nicolas Roeg)

Walkabout is the second title in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.

BADLANDS (1973)

BADLANDS (1973)

The Plaza Theatre (map)

BADLANDS | Dir. Terrence Malick | 1974 | 94 min

The time is late summer at the end of the 1950's and the place a small, placid town in South Dakota. The streets are lined with oak and maple trees in full leaf. The lawns are so neat, so close-cropped, they look crew-cut. Kit Carruthers (Martin Sheen) is twenty-five, a garbage collector who fancies his cowboy boots and his faint resemblance to James Dean. Holly Sargis (Sissy Spacek) is fifteen. Until she meets Kit, she hasn't much interest in anything except her dog and her baton, which she practices twirling in her front yard.

In Terrence Malick's cool, sometimes brilliant, always ferociously American film, Badlands, which marks Malick's debut as a director, Kit and Holly take an all-American joyride across the upper Middle West, at the end of which more than half a dozen people have been shot to death by Kit, usually at point-blank range.

Badlands was presented twice at Alice Tully Hall Saturday night, the closing feature of the 11th New York Film Festival that began so auspiciously with François Truffaut's Day for Night. In between there were a lot of other films, good and bad, but none as provocative as this first feature by Malick, a twenty-nine-year-old former Rhodes Scholar and philosophy student whose only other film credit is as the author of the screenplay for last year's nicely idiosyncratic Pocket Money.

Badlands was inspired by the short, bloody saga of Charles Starkweather who, at age nineteen, in January, 1958, with the apparent cooperation of his fourteen-year-old girlfriend, Caril Fugate, went off on a murder spree that resulted in ten victims. Starkweather was later executed in the electric chair and Miss Fugate given life imprisonment.

Badlands inevitably invites comparisons with three other important American films, Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde and Fritz Lang's Fury and You Only Live Once, but it has a very different vision of violence and death. Malick spends no great amount of time invoking Freud to explain the behavior of Kit and Holly, nor is there any Depression to be held ultimately responsible. Society is, if anything, benign.  READ MORE - The New York Times
*Originally published: October 15, 1973

Awards
1975 BAFTA AWARDS - NOMINATION (BAFTA Film Award, Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles | Sissy Spacek)
1974 SAN SEBASTIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - (Golden Seashell | Terrence Malick, Prize San Sebastián, Best Actor | Martin Sheen)
1993 USA FILM PRESERVATION BOARD - WINNER (National Film Registry)

Badlands is the third selection in our FOCUS: LANDSCAPES series.