Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point is a brazen indictment of 1960's American culture thats narrative ambitions are borderline inconsequential when considering Antonionio's ability to capture his larger thematic intentions almost entirely through aesthetic means. The narrative itself is centered around two aimless young adults in Daria, an anthropology student who is working with a property developer in Los Angeles, and Mark, a college student who spends most of his time attending protest rallies. After a cop is gunned down at a volatile protest, Mark is incorrectly identified as the shooter, which leads the young man to flee town in the quickiest way possible - by stealing a small, single-engined plane. Through circumstance Mark and Daria cross paths in the California desert, where they become intimate in the desolate desert of California where urbanism has yet to intrude. A poetic chronicle of counterculture America, Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point is a heated take down of consumerism and capitalism, as the filmmaker beautifully juxtaposes the open and free spaces of the desolate desert with that of the tight, constricting space of urban Los Angeles. I'm not sure there has been a film that captures the crowded, impersonal cityscape of Los Angeles so well, as Antonioni's grand themes of human alienation and impersonalization are beautiful captured through Antonioni's documentation of capitalism and consumerism. Zabriskie Point documents a stranger's point of view of America, with the Italian filmmakers use of punch-in type compositions throughout effectively evoking the filmmaker's sense of curiosity about America. Antonioni's camera routinely wanders throughout the space, documenting the overabundance of advertisement billboards and corporate branding in every urban scene, these signs of consumerism and capitalism hanging over the landscape, being a symbolic representation of how consumerism crushes the individual in American society. When Mark and Daria connect in the desert, Antonioni switches up his aesthetic entirely, relying on an abundance of wide shots, opening up the film in a way that visually expresses the freedom felt by these two characters, each of which has escaped the closed confines of the city. The time Daria and Mark spend together in the desert is the happiest we see either of these characters throughout, as Antonioni expresses the solace these characters feel in this environment, one where they can back to their relationship with nature and what it truly is to be human. The finale of Zabriskie Point is a stunner, being the filmmaker's grand indictment on consumerism and materialism, as the film exhibits the slow-motion destruction of various materialistic comforts such as television or designer clothes while clashing guitars provide the music, a hypnotic and incendiary sequence that uses sound and image to express Antonioni's rage. Zabriskie Point's narrative is simply the least important or interesting aspect of the film, as what Michelangelo Antoioni has created is a powerful, moody examination of American capitalism's intruding urbanism, predicting the relentless expansion of living spaces into the far-reaching deserts and beyond
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