Learning from films: Red Desert / We Give Our Lives

Criterion recently released a restored version of Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 masterpiece Red Desert (il deserto rosso) [Amazon | Netflix | IMDB]. On the second viewing, I made screen captures of scenes where the composition caught my eye — mainly focusing on the theme of people set against industrial settings. Many of the still images could stand alongside work from my favorite photographers.

Those of you attached to fast moving modern films with plot may find this film difficult — I hope the still images convince you that a viewing will be rewarding. The cinematography and use of color are amazing, and Monica Vitti’s performance is riveting.

The slideshow is set to a song by the group Sabbath Assembly who have a new release called Restored to One [LP |MP3CD]. The album is a modern response to the music of a cult called The Process Church of the Final Judgement. Psychedelic gospel music by way of The Family and NNCK? And Jex Thoth has an amazing voice.

The video is best watched full screen at 720p — it may take a minute to load, but it’s worth it.

4 thoughts on “Learning from films: Red Desert / We Give Our Lives”

  1. That was really cool, Joe. Gonna have to pick up both the movie and the music.

    1. Hey Steve. The film is available from Netflix, and the music via Amazon. I’ve updated the links above.

  2. Great news, Joe! Thanks for pointing this out! I never actually saw a print of this film, so I think I’m going to have to break down and purchase some Antonioni for the small collection. We discussed The Passenger a number of months ago, and I’m still saving that one. One more to add to the list!

  3. I pre-ordered mine and watched it a couple weeks ago. Amazing film. Sort of jumps me forward to Herzog’s film of the burning wells in Kuwait.

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