Red Desert | Chicago Reader

Red Desert

Michelangelo Antonioni's first color feature (1964) uses colors expressionistically, and to get the precise hues he wanted, he had entire fields painted. The film came at the end of his most fertile period, just after L'Avventura, La Notte, and Eclipse, and it isn't as good as the first and last of these, but the ecological concerns look a lot more prescient today. Monica Vitti plays a neurotic married woman briefly attracted to industrialist Richard Harris, and Antonioni does eerie, memorable work with the industrial shapes and colors that surround her; she walks through a science fiction landscape dotted with structures that are both disorienting and full of possibilities. Like any self-respecting Antonioni heroine, she's looking for love and meaning and mainly finding sex. But the film's most spellbinding sequence depicts a pantheistic, utopian fantasy of innocence, which she recounts to her ailing son. In Italian with subtitles.



  • Michelangelo Antonioni


  • Monica Vitti
  • Richard Harris
  • Carlo Chionetti
  • Xenia Valderi
  • Rita Renoir
  • Aldo Grotti
  • Valerio Baroleschi
  • Giuliano Missirini
  • Lili Rheims
  • Emanuela Mino Carboni


  • Antonio Cervi

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