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3,368 Ratings

Red Desert

Il deserto rosso

Italy, France, 1964


A depressed wife disturbs those around her with her erratic emotions. However, everyone finds it easier to go on as though all is well. A British engineer thinks he knows what she needs when enters an illicit affair with her.

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Red Desert Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
The mask represents Vitti’s undeviating purpose. Her capacity to express desire is rationed. What makes Vitti’s performance poignant is how she shows emotional migration — a resettlement of the self — by using her face and her body to undermine the film’s controls.
July 18, 2018
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Despite his reputation as some sort of hyper-modernist scold, Antonioni clearly finds something beautiful, almost sensuous in this milieu — otherworldly and enrapturing. Indeed, his films can never be reduced to simple laments for the spiritual pollution of the world. What makes the movies so unsettling is that they resist such easy meanings.
August 15, 2017
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One sees the first discernible instance of not only Di Palma’s distinct filmic imprint, notably his keen ability to imaginatively render the deepest of emotional states, but also how cohesively he and a respective director could work in tandem to a common thematic and stylistic aim. Although it took some convincing to get Antonioni to agree to color (Di Palma conducted tests to make his case), the already legendary filmmaker acquiesced and Di Palma knew the venture would be something special.
July 28, 2017
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What are people saying?

  • Jason's rating of the film Red Desert

    RED DESERT probably remains my favourite Antonioni. One could in the strictest clinical sense say the film is about neurosis, not be wrong, and still almost entirely miss the point. This is a jarring leap forward for Antonioni in that the implications of technological rationalism are made devastatingly explicit. The casually worst in me is there in rational Richard Harris's frigid entanglement w/ tormented Vitti.

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film Red Desert

    Monica Vitti casts quite the spell, and the barren industrial landscapes parallel her alienation and melancholy. Antonioni masterfully manipulates empty space, like in the seaside fog scene, the numerous portrait-like shots of Giuliana, and even the minimalist electronic score. Everyone mentions the lush color palette, but Red Desert really is one of the most beautiful films frame-by-frame that you can find.

  • Jimmi HRS's rating of the film Red Desert

    I don't know how people view this film as a take on the "hysterical" woman in modern society. I think rather it is an existential response to the modern world. That explores the ugliness and alienation of modern society, as well as the beauty that can be sometimes found amongst it.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Red Desert

    Antonioni's first color film is mercilessly absent of color. Smog obscures a blurred and murky industrial hell intriguingly unbound by the director's trademark diegetic framing -- only Monica Vitti, in that green coat, remains in focus, drifting aimlessly through a sprawling, seemingly endless wasteland that is tragically indifferent to her. Fucking sublime.

  • Sonia's rating of the film Red Desert

    The progress of modernity has its toxic byproducts and psychological discontents. The locations, both expansive and compressed, exemplify the interior alienation of characters within the film. Along with the expressive use of sound and palettes of color both saturated and denuded, Antonioni continues to develop his signature style of shifting choreographies.

  • ara's rating of the film Red Desert

    films like these speak to my disjointed mind and unspoken abstractions... the works of art i love the most are the ones that make me feel i am not alone

  • ramosbarajas's rating of the film Red Desert

    An interesting mix experimentalism and existentialism. I think of it as a companion piece to Solaris and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even though it takes place in Italy and not in space, it's definitely an alien environment, filled with industrial noises and mysteries. The production design and the cinematography are very good. I need a second viewing to decide if I like the story, but overall, I liked its effect.

  • Gylfi's rating of the film Red Desert

    A masterpiece, plain and simple. The use of colour is fantastic here, expressing feelings of alienation, sadness and hope. Antonioni's first colour film is even more striking then Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits. I recommend seeing Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her soon after watching this, both are great films about women trying to adjust to modern life with all the constructions and noises of the city.

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