Over the past few days I've watched Antonioni's Red Desert. A very striking film, though I haven't quite decided how good I think it is. It depicts a troubled young woman (Monica Vitti) whose difficulties seem to be connected to her environment, an industrial area near Ravenna. The contrast between the lush, fragile, and vulnerable beauty of the woman and the brutal and toxic factories and polluted lands and waters with which she's surrounded is pretty powerful. I'm not sure what it all adds up to, but it's fascinating visually.
The DVD includes an interview with Antonioni. The interviewer naturally is interested in what the director really intends to be saying about industrialization etc. Among other things in his reply, Antonioni says this:
But there are aspects of that world that I even find beautiful. For example, on the road from Ravenna to Porto Corsini on the coast, on one side, factories, smokestacks, and refineries fill the horizon. But the other side is completely covered by pine forest. I think the complex horizon filled with factories is much more beautiful, even esthetically, than the uniform green line of the forest. Because behind the factories, you sense the presence of human beings. They're alive. But behind the green of the pine forests there's nothing. Just animals, the wild. It's not as interesting to me.
What's your reaction to that?