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  • Red Desert [Blu-ray] [1964]
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Red Desert [Blu-ray] [1964]

23 customer reviews

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  • Actors: Monica Vitti, Richard Harris, Carlo Chionetti, Xenia Valderi, Rita Renoir
  • Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Producers: Tonino Cervi
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Oct. 2008
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 94,605 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


This 1960s Italian drama stars Monica Vitti and Richard Harris and marks director Michelangelo Antonioni's first venture into colour film. Guiliana (Vitti) becomes mentally unstable after being in a car accident but tries to keep her condition from her husband, Ugo (Carlo Chionetti). Lonely, she begins to open up to Ugo's business associate, Corrado (Harris), and they gradually become closer as they spend more time together. Meanwhile, she suffers setbacks that only seem to add to her feeling of isolation.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. A. Lynden on 22 Jan. 2009
Format: Blu-ray
I have to take issue with the previous review.
The BFI sourced the transfer of 'Red Desert' to Blu Ray from the original negative. Reviewers with far more technical knowledge than I have say the colours are true to the original 35mm release. I have seen the Blu Ray projected and the depth of colour, definition and healthy amount of film grain present, (In other words, the filmic look has not been smoothed out too much with restoration tools), create a truly fantastic home cinema experience.
If you view this or indeed any Blu Ray on a small TV or PC Monitor, then you will not see a difference in definition. You need a full 1080p TV of 40" or larger, in most cases, to really appreciate the difference between HD and SD.
But enough technical stuff, this film haunts me, Monica Vitti a pale chimera in Antonioni's bleached, barren yet beguiling poem to alienation, abstraction and industrialisation.
This Blu Ray is the cue for cineasts to go Hi-Def! Buy it now!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By wabrit on 9 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD
This was Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first film in colour, and was to be his last film in Italy for many years as after this he decamped first to the UK ("Blow Up") and thence to the US ("Zabriskie Point", "The Passenger") before eventually returning to native soil to make "The Mystery of Oberwald" in the 80's. It arrived as the end of a sequence of controversial but ground-breaking films detailing the modern condition - "L'Avventura", "La Notte" and "L'Eclisse" - all also featuring Monica Vitti who has the lead role here.

This subject of the film is the relationship between the modern industrial world and those that fit (or, in the case of the Vitti character, do not fit) within it. Antonioni conjures a strange beauty out of the factory-dominated landscapes and it's clear that his reaction is not (as we might automatically conclude in more environmentally troubled times) that industrial progress is necessarily a bad thing, but something a little more complicated. This ambiguous approach, allied with the extraordinary use of artificial colour (grass and fruit painted shades of grey and black) lends the film a compulsively mysterious air, at times almost tipping it into the territory of science fiction. At the centre of it is Vitti, who provides a superb performance (her co-star, a dubbed Richard Harris, received much less favourable reviews, but to my mind brings a stolid charmlessness that perfectly suits his character).

This is an excellent presentation of a wonderful but challenging film by the BFI; visually it has never looked better, and there is a very informative commentary by the Italian scholar David Forgacs which helps to illuminate the context in which the film was made.

Highly recommended.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By MarkusG on 4 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Red Desert (Il deserto rossi, 1964) is filmed in an industrial landscape filled with large machines, oil refinerys, garbage heaps, big buildings and so on. Despite this it is incredibly beautiful. The first shots show an industrial plant out of focus accompained to non-melodic electronic music, and the colours and forms reminds of abstract paintings, and Antonioni was inspired by modern art when he made this. His earlier films, L'Eclisse, L'Avventura and La Notte) also feels like paintings with beautiful compositions, but in Il deserto rossi this is abstract instead of hyper realistic, sometimes just layers of technicolor out of focus. This makes the movie visually unique I think.
The story is, I would say, about alienation, and also psychic illness/angst. Monica Vitti plays Guiliana, a young woman who is recovering mentally from a car crash. She doesn't have any good contact with her husband nor her son, and she becomes attracted to a business partner of her husband. This story is framed within the theme of modernity with big industries and business, and how they affect humans - clearly the environments they produce is not healthy, neither physically nor mentally. In the film we never see any 'normal' milieus, as in Antonionis other movies, like the life in an italian city or village. Instead the environment is cluttered and dominated by industry, somtimes a big boat is seen behind some trees or a window, and the only city streets we see are muted grey. This is comically enhanced when in one scene we see a street vendor, and he only sells grey stuff (even the fruits are grey!...I think it is supposed to be fruits...). So the scenes are very stylized, Antonioni even painted the grass in some shots...

The transfer of this DVD from Bfi is excellent, and a commentary track by a film scholar is included. Red Desert is a unique movie, and anyone interested in cinema or Antonioni should see or buy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stoneracket on 3 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD
This is the DVD to purchase for fans of Antonioni's Red Desert. The transfer is exquisite with a remarkably sharp image with superb color -- all on just the standard definition DVD BFI release! So those interested in the Blu-Ray DVD BFI release need not worry about this particular digital transfer. Aside from a few short vertical streaks and a few warped image flutterings ( due to sprocket damage ) this edition is perfect. This BFI DVD also has an excellent commentary track by David Forgacs and a wonderful booklet with several fascinating essays on Red Desert. To put it simply: this DVD is a must buy. Be seeing you!
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