After enjoying the biggest success of his career with Blow Up (1966), Michelangelo Antonioni spent two years and $7 million of Hollywood’s money-making Zabriskie Point, a mind-expanding odyssey of two youths (Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin) on the run from the police after a violent student demonstration.
Their surreal adventures in the California desert climax in slow-motion apocalypse to the strains of Pink Floyd.
After a meeting about student rebellion, Mark is suspected of shooting a cop.
He flees the city in a small plane and flies out to the desert where he meets free-spirited secretary Daria who is on her way to meet with her new boss Lee Allen.
The two spend some time in the desert with nature before he returns to give himself up and she goes on to join her boss.
But this is not a script-driven film. Except for the first ten minutes, it is mostly visual, with stunning cinematography. But the beautiful images seem random and lack synthesis.
The film had equally-strange echoes in real life: Mark Frechette later robbed a bank and died mysteriously in prison, and co-star Daria Halprin was Frechette’s off-screen girlfriend for a short time.
Watch out for Rod Taylor and a very young Harrison Ford.
‘Zabriskie Point’ is a rainbow-coloured spot in Death Valley, where layers of multi-hued sediment in the jagged crests of rock create the impression of a sand picture given three dimensions.
Lee Allen’s associate
G D Spradlin