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 Post subject: Zabriskie Point
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:20 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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I've been waiting for this announcement for ages, but it seems that this year marks the end of my silent waiting:

Fingers crossed! Now all we need is The Passenger and all 3 English language films will be out on shiny discs. Great year for Antonioni fans!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:09 am 
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Superb... ZP is indeed ripe for a critical reassessment... There's an interesting 2CD Soundtrack album - 2nd disc is all outtakes - improvisations and alternate versions from Jerry Garcia & Pink Floyd...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:51 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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Which I incidentally have and can recommend it for everyone into late sixties music and soundtracks in general. The second disc of outtakes and alternate takes is worth the price of the set alone. It comes with a thick booklet with great liner notes about the film and the production of the soundtrack and closes with a message from Jerry Garcia himself in which he talks a bit about The Passenger as well.

Back to topic: My question is - who will release this (the DVD, that is)? Warners?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:23 pm 
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Am I nuts, or have I seen The Passenger on DVD? Maybe not in R1, but...in some zone...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:31 pm 
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OOP Imagica R2 from Japan... ZP should be Warner in that it should be part of the MGM library transferred to Turner/Time Warner...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:04 pm 
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We should be in for a real treat with this. I still have the Laserdisc which was without doubt one of the loveliest prints and transfers from the MGM library (In fact the color looked far too good for 60s Eastman, I wondered if the print was done in Technicolor as sometimes happened.) Now bring on The Passenger


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:27 am
Eros is slated for an April 8th release from Warner Independent, last I checked. Perhaps Warner is trying to time things, boding well for The Passenger?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 6:20 pm 
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Speaking of Pink Floyd scores, has The Committee ever made it to DVD that anyone's aware of?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:25 pm 

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Good old Warner - glad they didn't just leave it at Blowup.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:52 pm 
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so is the critical estimation high, then? All I know about ZABRISKIE POINT is from John Fahey's book where he rather entertainingly relates the tale of Antonioni's coming to ask him to score it, only to later come to blows; also, someone else claiming that it was a colossal misfire in his filmography.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:48 pm 
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I'm sure Solent will LOVE this one. The two leads are definitely chosen for their looks and iconicity - calling their performances stiff is an understatement (esp Daria). Perhaps the criiticism of Antonioni's sometime lapses into modishness are more relevant here than BlowUp.

But Antonioni's mise-en-scene is very beautiful and the literal and metaphorical move into desert territory amplifies his explorations of almost metaphysical landscapes. Think l'Avventura, The Passenger, l'Eclisse. (I do have a friend who watches it with the sound turned off but I think if you like Antonioni you have to have it. )


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:47 am 
It great to see this film receive so much praise by today's film buffs. I assume this current excitement is based upon everyone's critical judgements. ZP was critically canned upon its release and subsequently dissmissed as "rubbish" throughout the '70s. Today it comes across as being rather dated but I think one can look at the film from other perspectives. To criticise the film as being dated because it is set in the US during the anti-war/anti-establishment era is unfair since history is relevant even if viewed through creative glasses. However, does the film do justice to its protagonists? Did BLOW-UP? Can Anonioni's films be measured according to character or to mood? Does he have a message in ZP and if so, is it garbled as the contemporary critics thought at the time of its release? I can't find answers to these questions when I view the film so am I wrong to look?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 3:01 am 
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In terms of "character" the only successful performance as such is Rod Taylor's in a role that is virtually minimalist, but he responds extraordinarily well to Antonioni's direction. The other secondary characters seem to come out of a virtual documentary style (cops, students, etc) I also think narrative is the last thing on the director's mind here, and the "social messsage/protest" elements seem now to be completely secondary to his lush and fascinated visual documentation of Los Angeles and the Desert. Indeed this film is closer in style to "China" from the same period than to any previous Antonioni. The color design is also particularly gorgeous (and this print will serve it very well.)

As to how this rates? As I said if you like Antonioni it is a must have. And we are all entitled to change our minds over the years (especially if you're as old as I am) - I loved Blow Up in the sixties probably for all the wrong reasons. Then disregarded it for maybe two decades. Then came back to it with the Warner DVD and love it again. (Despite reservations I have about the transfer - the color seems to me to be washed with a gray undercoat and blues and greens which he so meticulously had painted onto nature have lost their lustre.) I have had similar waverings about Zabriskie Point (and also Le Amiche which I now rate much less highly than earlier - yet it has the biggest critical reputation of all the pre quad movies.) So much for critics!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 5:16 am 
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davidhare wrote:
Indeed this film is closer in style to "China" from the same period than to any previous Antonioni.

Very true - a good analogy. The gaze. The same piercing eye, that revealed more than it should - unpalatable to some. Continuing to his latest short, THE GAZE OF MICHELANGELO... Incidentally China lifted the the ban on CHUNG KUO CINA only last year, when the full 4 hour version was screened in Beijing, early December... Of early films, check out CRONACA DI AMORE, his first. Remarkable, with the amazing continuous tracking and panning shot on the bridge....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:10 am 
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Yes thanks for that. I am rewatching Cronaca and La signora senza Camelie (in lousy TV prints) which I both like very much. La Signora is also fascinating as a study in moviemaking (and it reminds me very much of Ophuls' La Signora di Tutti). I am very excited by the news about China! It is almost impossible to distinguish it from so many great movies at its only screening in Oz (back at a Festival in 1970 or thereabouts) but the political HooHaa surrounding it was almost overwhelming. (like the bullshit that surrounded Last Tango in Paris.) This is one of those movies like Rossellini's India that needs rescuing from oblivion (not Brian.)

Further to Zabriskie Point - don't you love the two scenes of Desert lovemaking dope fantasy and Daria's idealization of the end of capitalism (which Antonioni shoots lovingly with genuine awe for the marvellous architecture of this beautiful "North by Northwest"/Wright house. Here, still is an artist in thrall to both emotion and beauty.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:15 am 
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Yes the title ARCHITECTURE OF VISION has been used both in Italian & English for books by and about Antonioni...

It's lovely the way he uses the dance company choreographed to expand on Mark and Daria's dusty desert lovemaking ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:38 pm 

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Anyone heard any updates on this dvd??? [-o<


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:39 pm 
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Great news! If Warner are finally taking the chance on Zabriskie, then surely releasing a 1975 Jack Nicholson film isn't such a gamble?

Funnily enough, I was watching The Passenger last night (DVDr from the Japanese letterbox Laserdisc). Great film. Very mysterious - it plays on your thoughts for quite some time. It is surely one of the great films about the myth of Identity. There are various reasons to why is has been a difficult film to see over the years: it wasn't a major success; the film contains a genuine execution by rifle-fire; Nicholson is said to have some kind of control over the film. And so on. I really hope that we see it on DVD this year. Nicholson's involvement would be a real bonus.

I have never seen Zabriskie Point in 2.35:1 - only 1.78:1 on TV a few years ago. Not a great film, but the visuals are undeniably stunning.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:18 pm 

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Well what I'm really wondering is if anyone has seen news for this anywhere? It was announced on the Roger Waters website several months ago, but I've seen nothing on it anywhere else.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 3:55 am 

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Maybe they pushed it back to coincide with the DVD release of Eros? That would make sense too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 2:34 pm 
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A new print (far from perfect, in my opinion) played at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC last weekend. One can only hope that this heralds a DVD release. In any event, the Laser Disc is gorgeous so I guess I can wait.


Last edited by Barmy on Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:15 pm 
perhaps the source is a bit odd, but GQ's site style.com made mention of the passanger last week in its media section, stating that its theatrical rerelease would be followed by a DVD early next year.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:26 pm 
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Antonioni originally had a final shot of a plane writing "FUCK AMERICA" in the sky. I wonder if this footage still exists. It was deleted before release. Obviously!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:29 pm 
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Source? Have 17 books about & by Antonioni - don't remember this tale - jog my memory...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 5:51 pm 
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ellipsis7 wrote:
Source?

Probably a bit of gossip, rumor, trivia and/or hype, though I seem to recall something to that effect way back when.

Trivia from the Amazon VHS listing:

Quote:
Michelangelo Antonioni's original ending was a shot of an airplane sky-writing the phrase "Fuck You, America," which was cut by MGM president Louis F. Polk along with numerous other scenes. Louis F. Polk was eventually replaced by James T. Aubrey, who had most of the cut footage restored, but without this final shot.

From a Senses of Cinema interview with Rolando Caputo of the Cinema Studies Program at Melbourne's LaTrobe University:

Quote:
Saul Symonds: The first thing I wanted to ask you wasn't actually a question, it was more a point I wanted to clarify. I was reading about Zabriskie Point (1970) and this website said that the final scene was originally of a plane skywriting the words, "Fuck you America," and of course it said that the studio made him delete that. I was curious if you're able to verify this.

Rolando Caputo: I'm not sure about the skywriting, but I have heard people say that there was some variation regarding the ending. I believe that the issue was about the female character getting back into the car after the explosion. There was talk that Antonioni wanted to end with the explosion and leave it somewhat ambiguous whether it was a projection of her imagination or whether it had a real status to it. The shot of her getting back into the car makes it appear that it could only have been a fantasy projection of hers. The ambiguity has been removed. But this is pure speculation, I've seen no definitive evidence about alternative endings to the film.


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