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Red Desert

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni

Italy, 1964

Cornerhouse, 11 November 2012

Red Desert

This is maybe the director’s best movie, compelling yet mysterious, full of elusive meanings.

Mentally disturbed though clearly not mad, a woman flits from work factory to village street to city port to family home.  She’s the wife of the factory’s chief engineer and an accident, not completely explained, has left her full of foreboding.  We don’t quite learn what it is that the factory produces, but we do know that its waste destroys the natural world around.  The woman, despite being damaged and distraught, seems to have prescient knowledge of a horror to come.

It’s a strange and beautiful movie, as strange and beautiful as Monica Vitti’s astonishing performance.  But note that, in spite of her distress, she never has a hair out of place.

Red Desert is showing again on Wednesday as part of the Matinee Classics season, further details are here.