Monday, November 05, 2012

Zabriskie Point to screen at the Pacific Cinematheque

The Pacific Cinematheque will be screening a series of films under the title State of Mind: California, Conceptual Art, the 1970's, and Cinema in November, and are including in the program one of my all-time favourite film experiences, Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, which I now must have seen at least fifteen times. I've written about the film here, here, here, and here, and don't have anything new to add, but I highly recommend the film for people interested in film experiences that are immersive, psychedelic, impressionistic, relevant to the hippie counterculture, and possessed of  stunning images and music (courtesy of Pink Floyd, Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, John Fahey, Roscoe Holcomb, Patti Page, Jesse Colin Young and others). It will further help your appreciation of the film if you're really curious what the counterculture and youth movements of the 60's looked like to a sentimental, anti-American Italian Marxist, who, after a surprise success, found himself bankrolled by a very trusting studio, eager to cash in on the "youth market,"  who had no idea just how big a flop Zabriskie Point would be (it appears as the Z entry in the book The 50 Worst Films of All Time; most cinephiles scratch their heads over that, today, and talk about how time has been very kind to Zabriskie Point). The DVD release of the film ends on the incorrect song - a crappy, studio-commissioned Roy Orbison tune that replaces Antonioni's soundtrack choice, a reprise of the Pink Floyd freakout that accompanies the apocalyptic explosion that occurs (in Daria's head?) at the end of the film; seeing the film in 35mm is about the only chance you've got of hearing the film end properly. (All previous screenings of the film in Vancouver in the last six years have had the right music at the end - because I was there for them! - so I can't imagine this'un ends any differently).

Also in the program are Roman Polanski's fine film Chinatown and Thom Andersen's highly praised documentary, Los Angeles Plays Itself - a title which has inspired a fair bit of imitation in Vancouver. There's also a bunch of films I know nothing about, but if this is the company they keep, they've gotta have something going for them...

1 comment:

Allan MacInnis said...

Speaking of the revised critical opinions re: Zabriskie Point, Videomatica's BJ brought the following article to light on Facebook, on "Films Misunderstood: Hollywood's Best Retroactively Redeemed Failures." Zabriskie Point is on it: