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Anna Maria Ferrero,
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An epic portrait of late Sixties America, as seen through the portrayal of two of its children: anthropology student Daria (who's helping a property developer build a village in the Los Angeles desert) and dropout Mark (who's wanted by the authorities for allegedly killing a policeman during a student riot)... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
About two hundred members of a Cleveland, Ohio USA film society, named Cinematheque, gathered on August 19, 2000 to view a pristine Cinemascope print of Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 film, "Zabriskie Point." Cinematheque Director John Ewing, who does a superlative job of obtaining the finest prints for his series, shared with the audience beforehand that this print was specially flown over from Italy for this one showing only.
The audience was held spellbound as the film unfolded its artisty on the huge panoramic screen. Watching this superb print, shown the way Antonioni intended, made one aware that this is indeed a modern art work. It was all the more fitting that the series is housed in the Cleveland Insititue of Art in University Circle.
Antonioni's compositions are created for the Cinemascope landscape. His beautiful balancing of images, striking use of colors, sweeping choreographic movements, all are the work of a genuine artist, using the screen as his canvas.
At last the audience could understand "Zabriskie Point." As its narrative unfolded, it became obvious that this work is not about story per se, but rather an artist's impressionistic rendering of fleeting images of his subject. The setting of some of the more turbulent activities of the sixties provides only a dramatic motor for the artist's sweeping collage.
Antonioni is not bound by conventional narrative standards, and can pause at any point to creatively embroider an event with grandiose embellishments. The audience willingly went with the flow of his remarkable imagination, as his huge images on the massive canvas held one in rapt attention. While the audience may have been only tangentially involved in character relationships, it realized the theme here is human aleination, the director's recurring theme.
It was also realized that no print any smaller or of lesser quality than this original one in Cinemascope can do justice to this particular rendering. The audience was therefore all the more appreciative of viewing "Zabriskie Point" in its original, breathtaking format, and broke into thunderous applause at the end.
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