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Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni • 1964 • Italy
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and Red Desert, his first color 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.