Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zabriskie Point

It has been a long time since a film or a book has really made me think.

When I picked up Zabriskie Point from the library this weekend, I wasn't expecting anything special to happen. In fact, when I watched the film, nothing did. I thought the film was kind of boring, a little too preachy, and way too abstract.

But for the past two days, I can't get this film out of my head. Images from it haunt me and the more I analyze the film, the more it makes sense.

Zabriskie Point is a film, by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, which paints the landscape of 1960s America. It follows two 20-something Americans as their lives cross in an unexpected way.

Mark Frechette plays the sexy rebel-without-a-cause Mark, a college dropout who gets caught up in the radical movement of 1960s young America. Daria Halprin plays the sweet college student Daria who works part-time for a property developer building subdivisions in the California desert. Their lives intersect during a road trip to Phoenix.

I don't want to give too much of the film away. But it's a film that deals with the same problems America is facing today:

-Youth who are tired of feeling powerless
-Authority figures who abuse power
-Corporations inflicting culture
-Unhappiness derived from everything and yet nothing

The film was so radical for its time (there is a dusty orgy scene that takes place in a desert, along with several liberal themes) that production was continuously harassed by right-wing groups and the FBI.

Unfortunately, the film was so abstract and political, it ended up being a box office failure when it hit movie theaters in 1970. But it has since become a cult classic.

And I think many viewers of this film have the same reaction as me. Images of despair and uncertainty linger at the edge of memory. Visions of love and hate intertwine.

What I found even more fascinating was the real-life story of the two young actors themselves.

Mark and Daria fell in love during the filming of Zabriskie Point and after filming, they moved to a commune near Boston. In 1973, Mark and a few of his fellow cult members robbed a bank near the commune and were caught. To shed light on how similar Mark was to his Zabriskie Point character, here is his explanation for the bank robbery: "It would be like a direct attack on everything that is choking this country to death." In 1975, however, Mark died in prison during a freak weight-lifting accident.

Daria, on the other hand, went on to marry actor Dennis Hopper and co-founded a dance therapy institute with her mother.

I highly recommend this film to everyone. Love it or hate it, the message is clear: The world needs to change.


Leah said...

Gosh, that was a long time ago and I never heard of this film. I want to watch it. I love the message. So right now!!! Hope I can find this film in our local stores. xoxo

daisychain said...

great post, I'm intrigued now x

MJ said...

Wow, that's cool - I love how long the girl's hair is! I shall have to check this out.

Josie said...

I'm actually super-intrigued by this movie now -- I hope that I can check it out soon!
xxoo Josie

COCAMIA said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this film. I will be looking for it!

gleenn said...

hmmm, sounds like a very interesting story. Usually, those films that speak of reality are the ones that stuck :)

fhen said...

wah have never watched this movie before. sounds so good. shall give it a try :)

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Missy said...

i've never heard of this film so i really enjoyed your post. i'm gonna see if i can track it down x

For everything about fashion:

Cafe Fashionista said...

Oh, you have completely piqued my interest with this review. The photographs and your words are just magical. I think I need to go to the video store right now!! :)

Heather Taylor said...

Oh wow, I've never heard of it either! Sounds very interesting though, I will have to check it out soon!

Couture Carrie said...

Will have to see this one!


Mina said...

This is a film that should be shown in schools.

Sherin said...

Wow, seems like an intersting movie. I love the story the story about the actors as well!

Dina's Days said...

Wow, I was hooked while reading this post. I can't believe he died like that?! That's nuts. Not that this has anything to do with this movie, but I just watched Precious and haven't stopped thinking about it either.. i hate when that happens to me!

Clare said...

I've never seen this before, looks great though, I love the image of him holding her hair.

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Some Girl said...

Whoa. I need this movie now.

Melanie's Randomness said...

I love rebellious movies like this!! He actually robbed a bank??!!! Geez. Well that's definitely a way to get yourself known. I'm always in the library I'll see if I can find it. Btw the girl totally looks like you in the picture where she is on top of Mark's shoulders. I think its her long hair!!

Barry said...

I find it interesting how history repeats itself, or rather, the story remains the same passed down through subsequent generations. So much commonality in themes: youth is misunderstood, Corporate America is infringing on people's freedom, and there will always be those who want to 'stick it to the man'.

Sounds like a good movie Jen; it's often smaller productions off the mainstream that carry the strongest message.

Fashion Chalet said...

My long-lost-long-haired-Sister! ;)

Gosh she's gorgeous.

Thanks for your always amazing comments. I swear you NEED TO SEE my SMILE when I read them. ;)


OneCraftyFox said...

No matter how many centuries pass, youth will always feel restless and politics will always be shady :)

That said, I really do want to watch this film now! In those first two pics, the actress looks kida like you in your profile pic!

Hope you are doing well darling, and I hope you are finding peace and hapiness in your life.

Elle said...

The imagery alone has me intrigued... I'll admit I have the most awful taste in movies (as in, loves movies with cheerleaders and ninjas that are dumb but entertaining) but definitely something to think about!

vicky h. said...

great post! I really really like the vibe of those pictures and the magazine cover!

thank you so much for stopping by!

Bikinis & Passports

persis said...

oh wow...thank you for sharing this. i had never heard of this film and now i can't wait to check it out. the plot somehow reminds me of the book Sophie's Choice. The characters seem to suffer from existential meaninglessness and want to add some real meaning to their lives anyhow.


Inspiration in Italy said...

Interesting, thanks for the review! Oh, and wow...he's pretty handsome, haha...

By the way, thank so much for your sweet comments lately Jennifer! xx


Cheryl Clarke said...

although the plots aren't the same at all, the photos remind me of that brooke shields movie when she was a kid--the blue lagoon.

thanks for commenting. i follow you now; feel free to follow me too.

rouli said...


lovely post!!!!!!!


cool blog!!!!!!

thanx for comm:))


Nikosmommy said...

I've heard of this film so many times, but really had no idea what it was about...thanks for the 411!

Liv said...

Wow, thanks for this, the back story sounds as interesting as the film! I'm definitely renting this, I liked Blow Up.
I gots a giveaway going on!

anhesty said...

i will have to check this out!

Audrey Allure said...

Sounds really intriguing, I'm adding this to my Netflix queue right now!

Kristin said...

You can certainly sell a review lady! Sounds very interesting!

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

I'm intrigued by this movie,
thanks for sharing J!

Bug said...

Wow, very interesting. Your review sure sparked my interest. I hope its streaming on Netflix of instant download, I want to watch it tonight. Thanks for sharing!

Bug said...

Oh, btw - I would love to exchange links! Adding you now :)

Abbey said...


The Queen of Hearts said...

The woman in this moving is absolutely stunning.

off with her HEAD!

Elaine said...

I've never heard of this film. I am intrigued now. The world has been needing to change for a long time now..

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BarelyVogue said...

How romantic

Tights Lover said...

You make some great movie recommendations! My taste is usually for stuff that is a little under the radar and you do a great job of finding a lot of things like that.

Plus, there's an orgy there you go....hahaha!

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Margaret said...

ooh haven't seen this one! thanks for the heads up :D will hunt it down

and thanks for the super sweet comment too!! :)