Monica Vitti is stealing my focus at the moment, especially her role in the 1964 Italian film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, Deserto Rosso (Red Desert). “Yes” to all of her outfits! Corduroy and wool coats, herringbone pencil skirts, grey cashmere sweaters and sweet little kitten heels. Also, her hair must get a mention: no matter what the length or colour she has experimented with over the years it’s in a constant balance of looking both manicured and untamed. Plus, she’s Italian, and fully equipped with that Italian stare: a perfected blend of come-to-bed and don’t-mess-with-me-eyes, così italiano!
Whilst stalking Vitti’s muse-able appearance, I have been continuously drawn to the colour palette in Deserto Rosso. As Antonioni’s first color film and renowned for stunningly colored industrial landscapes, said to “express the unease and alienation of the main character Giuliana” played by Monica Vitti, he wanted to shoot the film to look like a painting on canvas: “I want to paint the film as one paints the canvas; I want to invent the colour relationships, and not limit myself to photographing only natural colours.”
Think saturated apple-greens and fire engine-reds, with hits of dusty sahara-yellows and faded pinks, all set against stark aluminum, factory steam, concrete and steel. It is one visual, Italian feast… Recommended.