Fellow Film Club Members & Movie Buffs:
The Producer’s theme for October is:
“RED: a planet, a desert, a color.”
One would have to say that Indian Summer has settled around us, as moderate warm weather is ushering us into Fall. I ran over to the ocean yesterday, & it was gorgeous on the coast along the northern beaches. I rose before daylight today, & drove up to a mile high ranger outlook to watch the sun rise on Mt. Rainier.
Join the Tacoma Film Club as we screen our second film for the month, this Friday, October 9, 2015: Michelangelo Antonioni’s most celebrated film, RED DESERT (1964). Antonioni began working in the film industry in 1939, as a critic & documentarian, at one point working on a magazine that Mussolini’s son was the editor of. He claims to have gotten the idea for the film after witnessing the rapid industrialization of the town of Ravenna.
Staying within our Art theme, Antonioni manipulated the color palette, painting the landscape & smoke a sickly yellow, like industrial waste, thus reinforcing the sense of isolation. This was his first color film. He gives us one striking painterly composition after another.
Antonioni said: My film was my canvas, which I painted with color cinematography.”
He considered himself a Marxist intellectual. He rejected his middle- class roots & began his career using neorealistic themes. He suffered a devastating stroke in 1985, leaving him with no speech. He could only communicate by making drawings with his less dominant left hand. He collaborated for several years with director Wim Wenders in order to complete & release his last film, BEYOND THE CLOUDS (1995). He was an atheist, & he died the same day as Ingmar Bergman.
Antonioni said, “I am not a theoretician of the cinema. If you ask me what a director is, I don’t know. My technique varies from film to film.”
He directed 35 films between 1947-95; his first nine films were all documentaries. His other films included: THE STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR (1951), THE LADY WITHOUT CAMILLAS (1953), then his trio of hits–L’ADVENTURA (1960), LA NOTE (1961) L’ECLISSE (1962), after which he made films in English like BLOW UP (1966), ZABRISKIE POINT (1970), & THE PASSENGER (1975).
RED DESERT (1964)
Written & Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni @ 117 minutes.
The film starred Monica Vitti, Richard Harris, Carlo Chionetti, Rita Renoir, & Xenia Valderi.
Synopsis: This film gives us a provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age–focusing on a mentally unstable woman wandering through a bleak industrial landscape–confronted with quarantined mysterious docked freighters, depressing nuclear power plants & environmental toxins. There is a sense of the closeness & inevitability of apocalypse.
Tagline: This is the story of a woman–her hidden thirsts & hungers.
Guilana: There’s something terrible about reality–but I don’t know what it is.
The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Antonioni said: Actors are like cows. You have to herd them through the fence.
Trivia: Actor Richard Harris & Antonioni did not get along at all. The director did not speak a word of English. Asking for motivation for an action, Harris was told to do what he was told & quit asking absurd questions. At one point the angry Harris lost his temper and punched Antonioni in the face. At another point, Harris took LSD for the first time & got arrested trying to climb the Trevi fountain in Rome. So Harris was fired off the film before it was completed, & they had to use back shots of a stand in to finish some scenes. Harris went immediately to work on MAJOR DUNDEE.
The moody cinematography was done by Carlo Di Palma, who has lensed 58 films since 1957. Toward the end of his career he worked a lot with Woody Allen. His films include DIVORCE, ITALIAN STYLE (1961), BLOW UP (1966), THE BLACK STALLION RETURNS (1983), HANNAH & HER SISTERS (1986), RADIO DAYS (1986), SEPTEMBER (1987), ALICE (1990), SHADOWS & FOG (1991), HUSBANDS & WIVES (1992), MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY (1993), BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (1994), MIGHTY APHRODITE (1995), EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU (1996) & DECONSTRUCTING HARRY (1997).
ROTTEN TOMATOES gave it a rating of 100% for Critic’s Approval & 86% Audience Approval. IMDb rated it at 7.7 stars.
Michael Atkinson of THE VILLAGE VOICE wrote: “Swoon, all ye 21st century philistines, before the cataract of existential glamor that is Antonioni’s RED DESERT.”
Geoff Andrew of TIME OUT wrote: “Perhaps the most extraordinary & riveting film of Antonioni’s entire career–& correspondingly impossible to synopsize.”
So, hey folks, mark your calendars for this Friday, October 9, 2015, & join us for the screening of Antonioni’s masterpiece, RED DESERT (1964). It will be shown at the Center for Spiritual Living (CSL), the church building we rent for our events. It is located at 206 North J Street, on the corner of Division & J streets, across from the Group Health Hospital.
Arrive early, around 6:30 pm & join some of us downstairs in the kitchen area for fun, fellowship & snacks. It is permitted to bring snacks & beverages, including beer & wine, to share with others. There will be a Donation Box near the entrance to the sanctuary. All donated funds will be used to pay the rent & for other Club expenses. Food & drinks are not allowed in the sanctuary during the movie. RED DESERT will screen at 7:30 pm, & it runs 117 minutes. So the curtain will come down before 9:30 pm.
See you at the movies!