Blow-Up + Zabriskie Point

Blow-Up – 7:30pm
Using mid-sixties swingin’ London as its simultaneously dazzling and desolate stage, Antonioni’s first English language film was a box office smash: its mixture of au courant fashion and music, genre trappings, envelope-pushing luridness (rumours buzzed that you could see flashes of pubic hair in the ménage à trois scene featuring a young Jane Birkin), and arthouse modernity were just right for a new emerging audience — one “open-minded” enough (i.e. stoned) to love his enigmatic and dense imagery.  In short, it was sexy, cool, and a real mind-blower.  In the ingenious plot (inspiring both Argento’s Deep Red and De Palma’s Blow Out), David Hemmings plays Thomas, a high-profile fashion photographer who fills his days with snapping preening dollybirds and yawningly wandering the city, until his misanthropic ennui is shaken when he believes he may have accidentally photographed a murder.  With music from Herbie Hancock and the Yardbirds (who appear in one of the film’s more surreal satirical moments), sumptuous photography by Carlo di Palma and a continuing mastery of color (the grass of the film’s pivotal park was painted to achieve the right shade of green), Blow-Up stands as Antonioni’s biggest crossover commercial success.
Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966, 35mm, 110 min.

Zabriskie Point – 9:45pm
Sobering and drug-hazed, pristine and dirty, calming and terrifying, this visually jaw-dropping mini-epic from Antonioni is a nuanced Vietnam-era essay on political action and inaction, disenfranchised youth and commodity culture — all disguised as a free-flowing road movie with nudity and exploding refrigerators. Amongst a fractured narrative that follows a college-aged boy and girl on a panoply of ideological and sexual adventures, Zabriskie Point mingles the concrete and the abstract to captivating effect, and has achieved well-deserved cult status — due in no small part to Alfio Contini’s daringly massive cinematography, and a killer soundtrack featuring Pink Floyd, Jerry Garcia, Roy Orbison and other legendary unfuckwithables. “[P]acked with wonders and marvels in every corner of the frame, and revealing profound truths about where we were and where we’re going to be, Zabriskie Point resonates much more deeply than anything we may find in Easy Rider.” — Stan Czarnecki, DVDBeaver

Watch the trailer for “Blow-Up”!
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Watch the trailer for “Zabriskie Point”!
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