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Red Desert (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Monica Vitti , Richard Harris , Michelangelo Antonioni  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Monica Vitti, Richard Harris
  • Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2010
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003D3Y64M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,896 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Red Desert (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by Italian film scholar David Forgacs
  • Archival video interviews with Michelangelo Antonioni and actress Monica Vitti
  • Outtakes from the film's production
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Mark Le Fanu
  • An interview with Antonioni by Jean-Luc Godard
  • A reprinted essay by Antonioni on his use of color
  • And more!

  • Editorial Reviews

    Michelangelo Antonioni's 1960s panoramas of contemporary alienation were decade-defining artistic events, and RED DESERT, his first color film, remains one of his greatest. This provocative look at the spiritual desolation of the technological age--about a disaffected woman, brilliantly portrayed by Antonioni muse Monica Vitti (L'avventura), wandering through a bleak industrial landscape beset by power plants and environmental toxins, and tentatively flirting with her husband's coworker, played by Richard Harris (This Sporting Life)--continues to exert force over viewers. With one startling, painterly composition after another--of abandoned fishing cottages, electrical towers, overwhelming docked ships--RED DESERT creates a nearly apocalyptic image of its time, and confirms Antonioni as cinema's preeminent poet of the modern age.

    Customer Reviews

    3.9 out of 5 stars
    (48)
    3.9 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Study January 2, 2000
    Format:DVD
    The usual cliche about Antonioni films is that they are studies of bored and alienated people, and are themselves vague and uninteresting. This line was started by Pauline Kael and is repeated by Leonard Maltin above, with not a second thought. But it is utterly wrong, and never more so than in the case of Red Desert. The main character Giuliana (Monica Vitti) is not bored - she is if anything too sensitively engaged with the world. She suffers from it as an artist suffers, feeling it in every part of her. (Her point of view is represented by Antonioni's careful abstract compositions, his beautiful use of colour.) But she also feels the lack of her husband's and son's love and it is this that drives her into an to attraction to Corrado (Richard Harris). He in turn is attracted to her and pretends to a closeness that he doesn't fully feel. The dynamics of this seduction are beautifully observed and movingly real.
    But it is the character of Giuliana that drives the film. She seems to possess an integrity in her suffering that sets her apart. Antonioni seems to be searching her soul as he allows the camera to dwell on her expressions of hurt and desperation (as Godard did with Anna Karina). And Monica Vitti is so beautiful that it is ultimately painful to watch her. But as for the standard opinion - the only people who could be bored by this film are those who are bored with feeling itself. This is a masterpiece of observed sensitivity - a study of the heart's war on consciousness. It must be seen.
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    37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Blu-ray
    In 1964, Michelangelo Antonioni (who has earned the nickname "the Master of Alienation") screened his film "Il deserto rosso" (Red Desert) at the 1964 Venice Film Festival and the director took home the highly coveted Golden Lion award as well as the FIPRESCI Prize.

    The Italian modernist director was known for his radical new style, not following any convention of filmmaking and most of all, characters and events are disconnected. Known for his trilogy, beginning with "L'avventura" (1960), the film was an international success and would introduce the world to the actress Monica Vitti, a woman who would appear as the main character in several of his films. Antonioni returned with "La Notte" (1961) starring Jeanne Moreau, Marcello Mastroianni and Monica Vitti which focused on the slow death of a marriage and final of the trilogy "L'Eclisse" would focus on the alienation of man in the modern world.

    "Red Desert" is the fourth and final film that Antonioni's muse Monica Vitti would be featured in a film of his (the director would move on to focus his film on a male character). The film would also feature the director filming in color for the first time.

    VIDEO:

    "Red Desert" is presented in 1080p (1:85:1 Aspect Ratio). According to Criterion, the new HD transfer for "Red Desert" was created on a Spirit HD 2K Datacine from the original 35mm camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain and noise reduction.

    It's important to note that Antonioni wanted to capture a certain look.
    Read more ›
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    19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Antonioni agoraphobia! August 21, 2000
    By Miko
    Format:DVD
    5 stars to the film itself! Here's a painful study of a woman's descent to lunacy amidst a desolate, uncaring and eventually foreboding backdrop of industrial waste. The character study is not unlike claustrophobic Polanski's Repulsion but dwells on Vitti's being consumed by her external surroundings as opposed to Deneuve's intensive plunge to schizophrenia. The pace and landscape is virtual Antonioni so it may not appeal to viewers who are not familiar with the director's works. One of his greatest works (L'Avventura remains his best to me). The only problem is the DVD transfer. I've seen the VHS and it has a consistent hue of orange. The DVD, although sharper and clearer, fluctuates in hues from blues in medium shots to reds and oranges in long shots. For a film that essentially deals with color (it was Antonioni's first color feature), the transfer was rather clumsy and careless. The sound is average but leaves a lot of room for improvement. Why didn't Criterion handle the transfer of this gorgeous film?
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    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A painter's movie on the isolation of women August 14, 1999
    By A Customer
    Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
    I sat through this film twice when it first came out in the1960's. I have seen it many times over the years. The painterly imagesare rich, lonely, and seductive. Antonioni is a painter making film. The plot is secondary. Monica Vitti is an ancient goddess trapped in the dead, souless corporate world. Being a trophy wife is making her crazy. Do the men we love ever really love us? Is modern man trapped in sterile scientific thinking and cut off from the passion of the archaic world? I love this beautiful movie. I'm so happy it's being released.
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    38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Basic Classic/Worthy Issue May 23, 2010
    By Sturgis
    Format:Blu-ray
    It is good to have this film, one of Antonioni's finest and his first in color, available in a format that begins to do justice to its visual subtleties. It should really be seen in a theater, but a Criterion version is the next best thing. The last time I checked the critical consensus, Antonioni was still out of favor with the "with it" cognoscenti, but time will surely correct that oversight and give us good versions of all his films. We've had to put up with bad videos for so long. Those who are not familiar with Antonioni's work and need a clear story line should not waste their time, as Antonioni's films are all about character, mood, and that undefinable something extra which Monica Vitti captured so well in this film and the L'Avventura/La Notte/L'Eclisse trilogy.

    The special features on this issue are unusually valuable: an interview with Antonioni, shortly after the film's release; an interview with Monica Vitti about her work and her relationship with him, which was supposedly first shown on French television in 1991, but which surely must have been done earlier, because there is no mention of his tragically debilitating stroke; good prints of Antonioni's two early neo-realist documentaries, which already show his care of visual composition; and some black and white dailies, which highlight Antonion's care in composition and the light and shadow substrate of his brilliant use of color. These features have added immeasurably to my understanding of a film, which only improves with time. Thank you Criterion!
    Was this review helpful to you?
    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars Long Desert, Almost Empty
    This film, although gorgeous to watch, is not something easy to behold. Most of the dialogue is mundane and tedious and the protagonists are annoying, spoiled and confounded... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Bartok Kinski
    1.0 out of 5 stars A total waste of time
    I have all of Antonioni's films that are available and I love most of them, but I'm sorry, this is a mess. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Jim Tarleton
    4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
    In the director commentary of the movie 'Point Blank,' John Boorman mentions being a fan of 'Red Desert,' and says it was fresh in his mind as he made his movie. Read more
    Published 5 months ago by Sky McLin
    5.0 out of 5 stars Predictive
    If you can hang with Antonioni's pace, you'll enjoy this bleak look at the effects of industrialization. Read more
    Published 11 months ago by jay arrANGER
    3.0 out of 5 stars An Italian 'Repulsion'
    without the murder. Striking images in an usual setting. Interesting to note the dates of the Antonioni and Polanski films. Female neuroticism was quite the rage.
    Published 18 months ago by Tony Sac
    5.0 out of 5 stars best example of depersonalization disorder
    I have these symptoms same as the main character. It is a hauntingly difficult way to be. She was sick when the accident occurred. Not because it occurred. Read more
    Published on December 13, 2011 by eta
    4.0 out of 5 stars Tutti Cantavano / Tutti (Everything was Singing / Everything) .....
    Despite what has been said in the reviews of "Red Desert" from various sources, I think it is an emotional film, and one that becomes deeper with repeated viewings. Read more
    Published on September 30, 2011 by Stephen C. Bird
    2.0 out of 5 stars Foreign in Everyway
    Well the only thing red in the movie is the woman's hair, she is mentally sick after being in an accident, her husband and his friend are industrialists, the friend (Richard... Read more
    Published on August 10, 2011 by Duke of Kansas City
    4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully shot visual masterpiece
    Considering the simple, largely absent storyline and plot, the fact that I'm still thinking about this 3 months later shows the power of the visual and colorful scenery and... Read more
    Published on January 29, 2011 by Kevin Moore
    5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully shot film with real power
    I'll pop in my two cents here: this is a wonderful Italian film and one of the best color films in this era. Read more
    Published on January 27, 2011 by Christopher Barrett
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