Screencap from the film's trailer, April 7, 2018 –YouTube/criterioncollection
CAIRO – 8 April 2018: The 1964 Italian New Wave film "Red Desert" will screen at Room Art Space & Café on Sunday, April 8, 2018 as part of their "Film and Coffee Night".
"Red Desert" is the product of Italian master director Michelangelo Antonioni, best known for his trilogy of films that dealt with the dissatisfaction inherent to modern life – "L'Avventura" (The Adventure – 1960), "La Notte" (1961), and "L'Eclisse" (The Eclipse – 1962). "Red Desert" covers topics similar to this as well, but it was the first color film produced by the director. Indeed, to produce the unique color scheme present within the film, Antonioni went the extra mile to literally paint everything red, even going as far as to repaint the forests where shot after rain had washed the paint away.
The film's central character is a young housewife named Guiliana (Monica Vitti) who suffers from depression and finds she lacks true purpose in her life, afraid of being worthless. She feels nothing for her husband, Ugo (Carlo Chionetti), who runs a factory, and she hides her discontent and neurosis from him as best she can. Worse still, she is also a new mother, but finds that her feelings towards her child are anything but positive. She eventually meets a handsome man named Corrado Zeller (Richard Harris), an engineer visiting her town. In an effort to escape from her dismal life, Guiliana begins an illicit affair with him under the nose of her husband. However, she eventually discovers that Zeller is only using her to further his own desires, which shatters her already fragile mental state even further.
"Red Desert" is a film about spiritual imbalance, reflecting the changing tides of the 20th century as it left behind the post-war period into what looked like an era of greater prosperity and scientific advancement. But at what cost? The rise of capitalism and the urbanization of landscapes have brought with them a sense of existential malaise, and the advances in technology in the modern world have done little to stop it.
"Red Desert" won three awards at the Venice Film Festival – the FIPRESCI Prize, the New Cinema Award and the prestigious Golden Lion.
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