Red Desert

  • Film
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‘There’s something terrible in reality and I don’t know what it is.’ In this age of Prozac and the depression epidemic, the struggles of Giuliana (Monica Vitti) to relate to her husband, her child, her potential lover (Richard Harris) and to the diseased, polluted world around them feel ever more relevant. Michelangelo Antonioni’s first film in colour – and his last in Italy before he upped sticks to swinging London to shoot ‘Blow-Up’ – ‘Red Desert’ is about the suffering of those who can’t make the leap into our cold, mechanised modern world. It has a breathtaking, otherworldly beauty – this is a landscape of steam-shrouded factories and metal giants looming from the mist. But the film hasn’t entirely escaped the ravages of time: Vitti’s performance feels a little emphatic, her declarations of suffering too stark to be believable, while Antonioni’s attitude towards her often feels patronising. Still, ’Red Desert’ offers a prophetic vision of modernity unlike any other, and for that reason alone is worth revisiting.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday July 27 2012
Duration: 116 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Screenwriter: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra
Cast: Monica Vitti
Richard Harris
Carlo Chionetti
Xenia Valderi
Rita Renoir
Aldo Grotti
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