ANALYSIS OF MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI'S ZABRISKIE POINT - PART TWO

Go to Table of Contents of the analysis. Antonioni's films are rife with themes, peculiarities and incongruities which largely go unnoticed due his deft care in handling them and the abundant and rich audio and visual textures in which he immerses us, but they are also responsible for the sense of mystery that defies a traditional expectation of resolutions, infusing Antonioni's films with enigmatic mythic purpose. And myth is never hampered by logic. For more on my intention of analysis, visit the Table of Contents page.

Key to Your Future

92 Long shot from down a gleaming black-and-white marble hallway of a woman entering (her reflection in the marble viewed first) and running past elevators toward the camera.

Throughout the film, Antonioni's stacatto editing, which sometimes offers almost no change of perspective but the ellipse of an instant, reminds of the stacatto surface intervals of this hallway--dark and light, convex and concave, black and white--which will be recalled in other scenes visually.

Daria, in counter culture beads, purple top and pants, sandals slapping the floor, runs past a row of elevators to an information desk, a female security guard in black and white and little red tie also approaching and reporting that there was an open door on the third floor but that it's secure now. The young Daria, with her long, straight hair parted down the middle, has the appearance of the quintessential natural, "hippie" girl of the time which would have been profoundly out of place in this setting. Corporate world would have expected female employees to be dressed in skirts and heels and have pouffed, shellacked hair, this ideal business female observed time and again at Sunny Dunes, robotocized and conforming to streamlined work roles, one dimentional characters with no back story. Not that it's much different for the men, who have their own scripted roles to play.

93 Shot from behind the security guard, in his round enclosure, Daria approaching, and also a woman in a white shirt and red tie approaching from an elevator on the right.

SECURITY WOMAN: We had an open door on the third floor but it's secure now.

The female security guard walks off to the right.

DARIA: Is the door open to the roof? Could you, well, uh, could I go up?

The security guard shakes his head, no.

94 Medium close-up of the security guard from behind Daria.

SECURITY GUARD: Company rules.

95 Medium shot of security guard from behind Daria, showing him in his enclosure.

DARIA: I just wanted to get a book I left up there at lunch time.

SECURITY GUARD: What book? Why don't you eat in the cafeteria?

96 Shot of security women on monitors passing each other in hall.

Security Woman 1: How was your day off?

Security Woman 2: Fine.

Security Woman 1: See you later.


The two women look identical in their uniforms, the so-called bourgeoisie individualism mentioned in the activist meeting, which is at odds with party community, also not afforded in the work place. On the other hand, this simple image brings into the scene the idea of doublings and identity confusion throughout Antonioni's film, which will be a source of irritation to the reader as I frequently comment upon it.

The scene between the security guard and Daria isn't overdone. Interactions between authority/law, suspicious of nonconformity, and free agents were as confrontational then as can be in the present, though noncomformity is more accepted now rather than being so strange as to be jarringly alien. In 1970, dependent on the observer, Daria's appearance would have been viewed as either dangerously or attractively exotic and indicative of a character with little regard for authority.

97 The security guard looking at the monitors, from behind Daria. He swivels, continuing to look at them. Daria steps to the left, following that swivel, and the camera tracks left.

DARIA: Well, who could give me permission?

The security guard gestures to the security monitor.

98 Close-up of the South Side Fire Passage monitor showing Rod Taylor.

We've a close-up of the South Side Fire Passage which shows a man in an elevator. In the opening section of the student activist meeting, Mark and his friends had initially been standing beside a fire hose. Now, again, reference to fire, with Rod Taylor in the fire passage, perhaps also a private elevator. The theme of the hose and fire in various permutations will carry on throughout the film.

We see Rod Taylor (Lee Allen) begin to exit the elevator. He is the big boss and the one who will be able to grant Daria permission to get her book.

99 Shot showing an image of Rod exiting on the fire passage monitor, as we also observe him exiting into the hall via the camera. As he exits, the guard stands and greets him.

As we are able to see Lee Allen both on the monitor and "live" in the hall, we are granted two perspectives of his leaving the elevator and his double-take, due his seeing Daria, of the security guard's desk.

SECURITY GUARD: Good evening, Mr. Allen.

LEE ALLEN: Hello, Tom.

SECURITY GUARD: Working late tonight.


Antonioni has moved from the selective focus on the word "key" on the billboard behind the guard (the words beside it being obscured) to the focus on the actual keys the security guard wears, thus placing special emphasis on the idea of the key. This will occur throughout the film, elements introduced via words and then repeated physically, apart from words.

On the billboard observed through the window behind the guard's station, the cleft chin, shape of mouth and nose of the man, above the word "key", much resembles that of Lee (Rod Taylor). We will later see that the "y" begins the word your, and from this we can guess that the sign reads "key to your future".

LEE (having turned to leave but doing a double take, glancing back again, Daria advancing): Uhm, yeah, sure. Keeping busy.

As Daria advances, so does Lee advance toward her.

Rather than being put off by her appearance, Lee Allen (Rod Taylor) is obviously attracted and takes an immediate interest in Daria, politely asking if he can help her.

LEE (to Daria): Can I help you?

DARIA: Yeah, I hope so. I was taking the place of someone's secretary today. And I went up to the roof. I mean, at lunch time. And I left something.

SECURITY GUARD: A book.

LEE: You do secretarial work, do you?


100 Medium close-up of Daria.

DARIA: Well, it's not something I really dig to do. I just work when I need the bread.

So it is that Daria enters the film as a substitute, a stand-in, she taking the place of another, a common theme with Antonioni.

For a woman of Daria's sensibilities to be even remotely attracted to Lee, which is critical for the film, he can't be a complete corporate, top dog asshole. Rod Taylor adds dimension that makes the figure of the boss ambiguously complex, for he is not unlikeable. If he was too overbearing or manipulative, Daria wouldn't find him appealing, which she does. Part of his complexity is that though he's suit establishment, the boss isn't put off by Daria's counter-culturalism. Instead, he is drawn to it. He wants what she has to be in his sphere. She is so not a threat that he would have no qualms as to hiring her to be his secretary, or taking her as a lover, and Rod plays Lee so one senses that he may even find in Daria's free spirit a complement to the freedom afforded him by his authority.

Sunset Boulevard

101 A startling cut to a meat truck sign--a cow above the words "federally inspected meat"--that pulls away (as a truck passes with white rails that simulate a fence) to show beyond another painting of a cartoonish farmer tossing corn and squashes to a horde of pigs, which in this context is grotesque.

Antonioni leaves Daria's fledgling and problematic romance between the counter-culture and corporate world, returning to Mark, by whom he will introduce the audience to his view on the frontier brutality of America. The streets are no less lonely than many of those of The Passenger, but they are far less humane. The quiet of the Sunny Dunes building is replaced with an audio assault on the senses constructed to match the emphasis of the terrain on industry over people, the latter of which are conspicuously absent until we reach the protest. The section is broken into four parts, the first largely concerned with manufacturing and branding, a shift occurring around the railroad yard and neighboring power lines to a near frenzied, all-encompassing whirl of fragments, as graphics and advertizing are replaced with a veritable landscape of exploded metal, which reminids of the film's culminating explosion. After this, Mark nearly collides with his past on the more civilized oasis of Sunset Boulevard, after which we move into dialogue that further informs of Mark's unwillingness to involve himself with what he views as ineffective activism.

102 Closer shot of the painting of the farmer tossing vegetables.

103 Cut to a shot of the same massive mural only a little further to the right, showing a horde of black pigs gathering for the vegetables.


The camera pans right to show the mural encompasses the entire side of a building.

104 Cut again further right to show an old red Ford truck approaching.

105 Cut to show the truck rounding the corner. This shot shows another side of the building decorated with the lettering "F-J", trucks parked beside it with "Farmer Jo... Meats" on their sides. Antonioni doesn't situate the trucks so we are able to read the rest of the name at this point.

As the truck screeches around the corner, a loud and jarring squeal enters, corresponding with the screech of the tires, that is perhaps intended to recall the squeal of a pig, and the camera zooms in on one of the figures on the mural, the one behind a figure 4 shadow cast by the telephone pole, revealing it is a L'il Abner style hillbilly in rags making off with a black pig, an angry farmer chasing.


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This looks like it is very possibly the Farmer John's located at 3049 East Vernon Avenue in Vernon California. (If the map street view doesn't load in, refresh.)

106 Close-up of the back part of the truck's cab and the mural beyond. The truck passes the parking lot, an individual on a motorcycle exiting.

107 Medium shot of the rear of the truck's cab, the ugly mechanical squeals continuing in the background. It passes under an overpass.

108 Medium shot of the cab of the truck from the side showing Mark with his friend who was in the red shirt at the activist meeting.

109 Shot from behind of the truck turning right down a street between two gray buildings.


Two police officers on motorcycles approach from the opposite direction.

110 Cut to a closer shot from the front of the two officers.

Mark attracts notice to himself by flashing a peace sign at them. Then, having passed the officers, conscious they are still watching him, Mark changes the sign to an upraised middle finger.

111 Shot from the rear of the two officers, one of them turning to look back. They continue on.

112 Shot of Mark and his friend again in the truck's cab, Mark driving.

The camera zooms in on Mark. Sounds of clanging, squealing steel and mechanical synth boings enter as Mark and his roommate continue past a succession of signs that consume the screen.

113 "Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Los Angeles Plant".

114 "Ladewig Company, Water Meters, Valves" address 5608.

115 "Danola Ham & Bacon".

116 "Brown Bevis Industrial" at 6550.

117 "Pacific Metals Div."

118 "Heller Machinery".

119 The truck passes a "tc transcon Freight Liners" mack truck.

120 "Conway Coating Co." Delta. Railway cars. Power lines. Seen from within the truck's cab past the rear view mirror.

121 Shot from behind through the cab of the two men, a DELTA sign viewed on a yellow background down the street.


They turn right down another street.

122 Shot of a van passing, and beyond that railroad cars. This becomes an out-of-focus shot of metal waste before the cars glittering copper, brass and silver in the sunlight. The moving, extreme telephoto zoom creates a sense of chaos, moving along to mounds of wooden boxes as the clanging continuing, then more mack trucks, one after another, rows of utility poles.

123 Shot of the street from behind and through the truck's cab.

After the signage and industrial montage, an extreme long shot with deep focus piling more billboards, signs and telephone poles one on another, telephone poles also reflected on the rear window of the cab.

124 Side shot of Mark and his friend in the cab.

125 A deep focus long shot of palm tree lined Sunset Boulevard. The camera zooms through the palm trees and in on a red light.

126 Shot of the truck intentionally running a red light at Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Benedict Canyon, narrowly avoiding a collision at the intersection marked with a sign reading "Benedict Canyon Closed at Hutton Dr."

A yellow convertible pulling up alongside the car that nearly collided with the truck, a young blond woman in the convertible waves. A man in another convertible gestures furiously at him.


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127 Mark and his friend in the cab of the truck.

Mark laughs, excited rather than unnerved by the close call.

MARK'S FRIEND: Who was that?

MARK: A girl from my long gone past.

MARK'S FRIEND: What's her name?

MARK: Alice. My sister.

The battered red truck thus belies a likely upper middle class background from which he has alienated himself.

The convergence here of Sunset Boulevard and Benedict Canyon, due a sign informing of the closing of the canyon at a particular drive, at a place where a near collision takes place, is of note as the film's end has the sun going during the imaginary blow-up of a house designed by a Henry Hudson Benedict.

128 Shot from behind the friend.

The roommate pulls out some paper and begins filling it in.

129 Side view of the friend and Mark.

MARK: What's that?

MARK'S FRIEND: It's an OR form in case of a mass bust. They'll release you early if you fill one out in advance.

MARK: Be prepared, is that your slogan?

MARK'S FRIEND: You have to be realistic about it.

MARK: Man, the day you don't count on losing is the day I'll join the movement.

MARK'S FRIEND: What if joining isn't a matter of choice? For lots of people it's a matter of survival.


They pass a UNION gas station in the background.

MARK: That's what I mean.

MARK'S FRIEND: What?

MARK: It's serious, it's not a game.

130 Close-up of Mark from behind.

MARK: I'm tired of it, man, kids rapping about violence and cops doing it. That chick at the meeting said people only act when they need to...

131 Side view of Mark and his friend.

MARK: ...but I need to sooner than that.

132 View of street as if from inside the cab, they turning right before a female pedestrian in blue, driving up behind a red VW at a T-intersection where a protest is taking place on the opposite sidewalk.

Some individuals carry signs of which we're not afforded a good glimpse ("Don't Cross Any Lines", "School's Out"), while a man with a hair cut somewhat similar to Mark's carries, in lieu of a sign, carries a leafy branch that obscures his face. As Mark drives by, the individual carrying a branch passes a blind man with a cane in a line going the opposite direction. The only individual to turn and look toward the truck (and the camera) is the blind man. Is it because his blindness and thus his sensitivity to sound alert him to the truck, and by this ae we supposed to interpret that in a metaphorical sense he's not blind. Whatever, it's another occurrence to take note of, especially in conjunction with the man who carries the branch. Later, when Mark is on the run, we will view him on a bus through a green filter (the leafy green branch), and he will be wearing dark sunglasses for the first and only time in the film.

I'm inclined to look upon the blind man as connecting with Blind Joe Death, the alter ego of John Fahey, whose "Dance of Death" is played after the death of Mark.

The truck having turned so it's parallel the sidewalk, the camera revolving to face the cab of the truck, they stop. Mark's friend exits.

MARK'S FRIEND: Well, anyway, our line's going to be in front of the administration building all day.

MARK: Maybe.


Mark drives away.

One will notice that this section began with the mural of the pigs for slaughter lined up in an orderly fashion for feeding time, one lone, individualistic pig separated from the pack, standing on a roof, and another being stolen away. Antonioni ends the section with the protest line as en echo of the opening mural. A "pig" was generally a police officer, but could also be an individual firmly entrenched in the values of the "establishment". Antonioni ending the section with the protest line referring back to the line of pigs suggests the protesters are also entwined with the establishment, just as in the dialogue between Mark and his friend, Morty, we have already observed Morty's continued faith in the system and Mark's scepticism.

In the mural of the pigs lining up for food, the lone one standing apart on the roof, we have also Daria asking to go to the roof for her book, which she had read up there during lunch. The perturbed security guard had asked her why she didn't go to the cafeteria like everyone else.

Alias

133 Medium close-up of a middle-aged woman smoking in an office.

We hear radio communication in the background and realize we're in a police station.

VOICE: Control 1 to 1L Pi 1. You are now clear, 1L Pi 1. Continue patrol. Continue control, 1L Pi 1.

RESPONSE: 10-4. 1 L Pi 1 out.


Or it might be 1 L 5 1.

The camera pans left past another woman and several officers, coming up behind Mark as he approaches the counter's window. We see beyond a clock that reads 3:00 p.m.

OFFICER AT WINDOW: Yes?

134 Medium shot of Mark from behind the officer.

MARK: A friend of mine was arrested this morning. Was wondering if his case had been settled yet.

OFFICER AT WINDOW: One of the collegers?

MARK: Yeah.

OFFICER AT WINDOW: Being booked now. Be a little while. Take a seat.

MARK: You know how long it'll take?

OFFICER AT WINDOW: Maybe five minutes, maybe five hours.

MARK: Thank you.

135 Medium shot from exterior the police station's glass doors, a police car reflected in them, as we see Mark exit, birds chirping outside, and hear a motor.

136 Long shot of a police helicopter taking off.

137 Cut to the interior of a cell crowded with students, looking through bars. The camera faces the bars from the POV of the students and shows no faces.

138 Then a line of college students in a hall, including Mark's friend.

There's a seeming continuity error here with Mark's friend dressed in the same red shirt he had been wearing at the activist meeting, rather than the shirt he had been wearing in the previous scene when he was dropped off at the protest. Mark, too, is wearing the same brown t-shirt he had been wearing at the activist meeting. We will also later see a girl with a red bandana about her head, one who we also saw at the activist meeting, and she is also wearing the same shirt that she was wearing at the meeting.

One protester in a yellow shirt, with a bloodied head, stands before a sign that reads "No guns beyond this point". The white bandage wrapped around his head, saturated red, reminds me of the girl in the red bandana. To the right of him is the individual who was seen in shot 50 at the meeting sitting to one side of the Black Panthers, the shot where the camera panned left from him, there was an interval of black, and then as if completing the pan the camera landed on the individual who looked like Mark, he sitting to screen right of the Black Panthers. This man is not wearing what he was at the meeting, which was a dark t-shirt.

Other than a continuity foul-up, the only reason I can think of for them being in the clothing worn earlier is a play on Mark's friend having written up the OR forms saying that if there was a mass bust they'd release early those who'd filled out one in advance. The clothing places them as a day earlier (I don't mean literally, as in we're supposed to drop back a day).

A bearded man in a blue jacket and red tie approaches and is told by an officer, Empty your pockets.

139 Shot from behind of two officers at desks processing the protestors who stand opposite, separated by wire.

An officer pats down a man in a blue shirt at the left window, and another stands beside the man in a red tie and blue coat at the right window. The man empties his pockets.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: Name?

PROFESSOR POLLIT: William S. Pollit.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: Put your hands on the cage.


140 Shot from the right as the officer exterior the cage pats the professor down. He removes from his back pocket a paper and throws it on the counter through the window.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: Pollit?

PROFESSOR POLLIT: P-O-L-L-I-T.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW (typing): Any other name known as?

PROFESSOR POLLIT: None.


141 The Professor viewed through the wires of the cage.

OFFICER EXTERIOR WINDOW: Take off your glasses.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: Address?

PROFESSOR POLLIT (removing his glasses and placing them down): 1152 South Stoneman (I believe that's what he says).

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: What city?

PROFESSOR POLLIT (as the officer removes his tie): Alhambra.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: Occupation?

PROFESSOR POLLIT: Associate professor of history.


142 View from the right side of the professor and officer.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: That's too long. I'll just put down clerk.

143 Medium close-up of the professor through the wire.

PROCESSING OFFICER BEHIND WINDOW: Any money in that wallet?

PROFESSOR POLLIT: Two dollars.


144 View from the right side of the professor and officer, the officer on his left.

PRORESSOR POLLIT: Some of these people over here need medical attention.

OFFICER EXTERIOR WINDOW: You didn't say you was a doctor.


145 Medium close-up of the professor through the wire again.

146 As with shot 140, from behind the two officers at the desks, Mark's friend now approaching the left window.

147 Medium close-up of police department bus Mobile 2 arriving with more protestors, and Mark running toward it.

148 Shot of a line of buses, Mobile 1 and Mobile 2, coming to a stop beside a police van, the back door open and an officer talking to a girl within. From the rear we view Mark walking into the frame from the right then crossing to the left to enter the police building.

149 Medium shot of priest standing beside the blond girl with a red bandana wrapped around her forehead, she standing next a barred door through which we see Mark entering a hall from outside, she turning to look at him. They recognize each other from the activist meeting and acknowledge one another.

The girl stands not in the same place as the man earlier who had worn the white bloodied dressing wrapped around his head, but they are both positioned in proximity to a doorway, so Antonioni seems to have been intentionally drawing a link between the two.

150 Medium shot from the right of the professor still standing before the cage, and Mark's friend beyond, at the next window, he waving to Mark and the officer with him stopping him.

151 Close-up of Mark through the barred door, the girl with the red bandana in the foreground. An officer approaches.


OFFICER: Who are you?

MARK: Got a friend of mine in here. I came down to bail him out.

OFFICER: You're not allowed here. Move on.

MARK: I thought if you were coming to bail somebody out...

OFFICER: You thought. You thought maybe the rules didn't apply to you? You thought maybe you're someone special? Go on, beat it, move on!

MARK (smiling at the girl, yelling to his friend): Hey, man, anything I can do to help?!


152 Medium shot through grill of the cage of an officer turning and pushing a button that opens the barred door.

153 From behind the officer addressing Mark, the barred door sliding open.


OFFICER: Okay, now you've got a chance to see your friend.

The officer suddenly grabs Mark by the shoulders.

154 Medium shot of Mark in the officer's grasp, he whirling him about, as we hear protests of the treatment. The professor steps forward and another officer moves to inttervene and grabs him.

155 Shot from inside the hall Mark has just exited of an officer grabbing the door and pulling it shut. We see Mark beyond, his hands on the grill of the cage surrounding the police processing desk.


OFFICER (moving to reposition Mark's hands higher on the grill): Keep your hands up there!

PROTESTOR: Police brutality!

OTHER OFFICER: Busy day.


156 Close-up of Mark's hands gripping the wire of the cage, from its interior.

PROCESSING OFFICER (off screen): Name.

157 Close-up of Mark through the cage.

MARK: Karl Marx.

PROCESSING OFFICER: How do you spell it?

PROTESTOR (laughing): All right!


The camera pans down to the IBM typewriter of the police officer, zooming in on it and the paper in its carriage to show the name being typed in as Mark spells it.

MARK: M-a-r-x.

The officer types Marx, Carl.

This is a joke, and a wink as regards the police being so uneducated as to not get the joke and recognize an alias, but it also continues the theme of dual identities.

Nothing smaller than a 38

158 Shot of two police motorcycles to the right of the screen, parked neighboring a pink building.

We see beyond the red and white alternating color blocks of the exterior of a car wash, and beyond that a Rocket sign. Mark's red truck pulls into the frame, in close-up from the left, and parks so the truck blocks the motorcycles from view. The camera has panned down to show a speed sign reading 35 and we also see the "vacancy" sign of a motel. Mark's second friend (the one dressed in the gray shirt at the meeting) gets out the passenger's side. Mark steps out of the car, dressed in a white oxford shirt and gray jeans, and glancing at the motorcycles, follows his friend.

The camera pans to show the pink building and that it is a two story hotel, and then the shop outside which the motorcycles are actually parked, which is a gun store. We see only the far right portion of its exterior, a large plate glass window in which are the signs, "Guns-archery", "buy-sell-trade", and a large red and white sign reading AMMO SALE. The camea zooms in on the green "Guns-archery" sign beyond which can be seen a Winchester sign, which reminds of Mark having said he wouldn't join the movement as long as people anticipated losing.

159 Medium shot interior the store of the two officers exiting as Mark and his friend enter. Occupying the top part of the window from this view is the graphic on a large moving van with a "1" over a highway, above the AMMO SALE sign seen in reverse, rifles lined up before it.

160 Shot from further inside the shop of stands and carousels filled with rifles.

SHOPKEEPER (approaching from the right): Help you boys?

MARK'S FRIEND #2: We need some guns right away for self defense.

SHOPKEEPER (stepping behind a counter): Well the law is you buy the guns now and then we check it out with Sacramento...


161 Medium shot, from behind the shopkeeper, of Mark's friend #2 and he before the counter.

SHOPKEEPER: ...to see that the record is clean. You can pick it up in four or five days.

MARK'S FRIEND #2: But the law was made for peace time. This is an emergency.

MARK: You see we live in a neighborhood that's, uh, borderline. You know what I mean? We've got to protect our women.

SHOPKEEPER (pulling out merchandise and placing it on the counter): I sure as hell am going to see you don't go defenseless. For your purposes, fellas, I wouldn't recommend anything smaller than a 38.


Mark and his friend handle the pistols.

162 Long shot from inside gun store of another shopkeeper following Marks' friend left to right through aisles of guns. Out the front window, across the street, we see what is perhaps an Ace Hardware store, though all we can make out is "Ace H". Mark enters the frame from the right.

SHOPKEEPER #2: Say, boys. (He steps behind a merchandise counter before a barred plate glass window filled with guns.) One other thing about the law, so you can protect your house, if you shoot 'em in the back yard make sure you drag 'em inside.

MARK'S FRIEND #2: Okay, thank you.


Mark and his frriend turn and leave. Mark is carrying a shotgun wrapped in brown paper and his friend a pistol wrapped in brown paper. We see that Mark's shirt isn't white but white and a pale gray stripe.

163 Exterior of 2nd Gun shop with the red truck parked in front of it in the same manner as at the first. Mark and his friend exit and get in the car.


View Larger Map

The "Ace" brings to mind the opening credits and the line, "They're taking our nags, ace", to which was replied, "Yeah, and making damn good targets of themselves. Let 'em have it." These lines had stood out as they were obviously acted and stilted. One of the voices may have been Mark, but I'm not certain of this.

When casually watching the film, one may not have noted that the pair enter one gun shop and exit another, instead believing they had moved only to another part of the same shop. The pink motel beyond the first gun shop also blends with the pink tone of the second gun shop, reinforcing similitude. Though the first shop doesn't have bars in its windows, it does have the harsh vertical lines of the rifles lined up across the screen as one enters the shop.

When the pair enter the first gun shop there are signs on the street outside showing the numbers 31, 35 and 20-something, and inside we see the graphic on the exterior moving van with a 1 over a highway. But after being told that they should use nothing smaller than a 38, we switch to a second shop, and as they exit it we see no numbers in view smaller than a 38. By the magic and poetics of film, it's as if with the pronouncement of "nothing smaller than a 38", the shop and the exterior landscape transforms rather than our moving from one shop to another, and Antonioni sets this feeling up via there being no obvious transition from the first shop to the second.

Become an Independent Man at Sunny Dunes

Now to see what Lee Allen does for a living.

The American Dream having been attained by the upper middle of the middle class, how now for them to enjoy their achievements if the beautiful life in LA is sullied by the cacophony of industry, pollution, overcrowding, worker ants, and the threat of racial equality? An ideal, desert Eden is framed with the promise of still elusive bourgeoisie individualism and independence, sugared for the men with smiling, submissive Stepford honies, and, for the women, the promise of being able to finally produce that Better Homes and Garden's cover dessert and find fulfillment in the doing, and time to spare lounging by the pool.

164 Close-up side view of executive with mustache on left screen and graphs on right.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Enjoy the full...

165 2nd executive on left screen with an image of Phase II development of property on right.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...relaxation of...

166 3rd executive with white hair, smoking a cigar, on left screen with DUNES ESTATES graphic seen in reverse on the right.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...outdoor living.

167 Zoom out of close-up on mannequin in straw hat and polka-dotted, purple sunsuit on a lounger in the desert.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Bask in the desert sun...

168 Medium shot from the right of the same mannequin with a mannequin in a bikini and short blond-red hair resting on a beach towel by a yellow cart decorated with a daisy graphic.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...by your own private pool.

169 Medium shot of several more men in suits listening intently, a large window beyond looking upon skyscrapers outside.

We glimpse in a terrarium a small model of a Sunny Dunes billboard showing a red sun setting over the mountains. This is a key image as it will return at the film's end.

170 Medium shot of a mannequin in a blue and green and white bikini appearing to drop a striped and polka-dotted beach ball into a pool at the 6 ft. marker, a little boy mannequin seated on a diving board. The camera zooms in on the spinning ball.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Why be caught up in the rat race of city life...

171 Medium shot of a female mannequin with long blond-hair in the "pool" holding the beach ball.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...when you can enjoy life the...

172 Return to the shot of the man by the Phase II development graphic.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Sunny Dunes way.

173 Cut to a close-up of a male mannequin with short red hair, vaguely reminiscent of the man in shot 171, a red, white and blue towel wrapped about his neck. Zoom out so we have a brief glimpse of a female mannequin on the right.

174 Cut to the camera panning left across a suspended tennis ball, which gives the illusion of it flying, focusing in on the long haired blond mannequin with a daisy sun visor, holding a tennis racquet.


MALE VOICE-OVER: Play tennis on...

175 Long shot of male and female mannequin appearing to play tennis against a desert backdrop.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...emerald green lawns.

176 Shot of three executives (including the man with the cigar) seated at a table, listening, facing a large graphic of development on the wall.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Drink fresh mountain water...

177 Pan left from a fake tree against the sky to a fake bird wobbling in the air. As the voice-over continues, the camera zooms out to show a male mannequin with a boy mannequin out in the desert hunting quail.

MALE VOICE-OVER ...from oaken buckets. Breathe the unpolluted air of the high desert. Take your son quail shooting...

178 Medium shot of boy mannequin in red, white and blue plaid shirt and cowboy hat, reaching for pistols in holsters suspended from his belt.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...in the wide open spaces.

179 Close-up of a woman with red hair, in a business suit, smoking, seated before Phase I graphic.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Who knows, you might even bag a...

180 Close-up of stuffed mountain lion.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...mountain lion.

Did the idea of the middle-aged, female "cougar" exist in the 60s? I wonder. But I would more associate the image of the cougar of the perceived threat of the Black Panthers. And Mark.

181 Brief shot of the male mannequin with gun seemingly leveled at the mountain lion.

182 Shot of the meeting room with the executives assembled, all but one seated at the glass table, a large graphic of the development in the rear covering the wall.


MALE VOICE-OVER: Get out in the sun...

183 Medium shot of male mannequin in a light colored cowboy type hat, palm tree behind, water spraying at the camera from a nozzle he holds.

These images strongly tie back in with the activist meeting and Mark and his friend purchasing the guns. The garden hose links to the fire hose at the activist meeting.

Hose etymologically goes back to a root meaning to hide, conceal, and curiously the various hoses in the film are often used in conjunction with the idea of concealment. Such as here we have the husband watering his private garden, which has a not so subtle sexual connotation as well.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...and water your own private garden. Become an independent man. Forge a life of your own like...

184 Close-up of the man with the mustache as in shot 162.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...the pioneers who molded the west.

185 Shot of a female mannequin in a pink dress, wearing an apron. She stands in a light blue kitchen, its window overlooking the pink rocks of the desert and the husband mannequin watering the garden. A toddler mannequin sits in a stroller. Sliced oranges cover a counter.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER: You girls will really enjoy the...

186 Zoom out of shot of toddler screaming to show a pink iced sponge cake and cherry cheesecake on the kitchen island.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER: ...fully equipped Sunny Dunes kitchen.

187 Pan from close-up of the female mannequin to bacon and eggs in pans on the oven.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER: Plenty of space for cooking for Junior and that man of the house.

188 Cut to the female executive as in shot 179.

The female executive, perhaps associated with the cougar, is now instead associated with the mannequin wife in her kitchen cooking for her man.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Play a round of golf on the...

189 Long shot of toy figures playing golf on an expansive green lawn, dotted with palms, before the pink rocks of the desert.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...regulation sized...

190 Close-up of the business man with white hair as in shot 166, as if this would appeal to him.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...Sunny Dunes 9 hole golf course.

191 Medium shot of the female mannequin with long blond hair on the golf course, she as if looking back at the business man.

192 Long shot and zoom in on the female mannequin on the course, with a male in yellow putting, a teen mannequin holding the red flag of the 6th green. The camera zooms in on the male mannequin's golf shoes.

MALE VOICE-OVER: And you can putt to your heart's content...

193 Return to shot 169 of the several men viewed before the window.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...on the special practice putting greens.

194 Medium shot of the male mannequin in yellow, panning down to show the golf ball at his feet.

MALE VOICE-OVER: So stop driving yourself crazy in that miserable...

195 Medium shot of the boy mannequin panning up to show the red flag and now clearly showing the number 6 though in reserve and upside down, or a 9 in reverse.

MALE VOICE-OVER: ...crowded city.

196 Shot of the meeting room from an angle showing another view of skyscrapers out the window, a large cactus between the window and the meeting table.

MALE VOICE-OVER: Move out today and start your life over with a Sunny Dunes house in the sun.

One can see how the scenes are shot and edited so that the board room seems to be interacting with the artificial Sunny Dunes representation of a desirable reality, the craft of the commercial appetizer not only designed to lure prospective owners but emanating out of and responding to the dreams of the Sunny Dunes executives.

As the camera pans to show finally the television screen all in the room have been watching, a man in a helicopter appearing on it, the female narrator asks the male narrator if he's taken up flying. He responds that no it's him personally scanning potential Sunny Dunes lots. As the scene finishes the television shows a man using binoculars as he looks over the desert.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER: Are you taking up flying, Bob?

MALE VOICE-OVER: No, Jane. That's me personally scanning the dsert for potential Sunny Dunes lots. Just call Sunny Dunes 84-868.

FEMALE VOICE-OVER: What's that number again, Bob?

MALE VOICE-OVER: That's Sunny Dunes Land Development Company, Box 82, Los Angeles, California.

Who's We?

Down from the sky, back to the LA streets. Who wasn't at the Sunny Dunes meeting was the boss, and for some reason Antonioni removes us now from the ivory tower quiet of the Sunny Dunes building to show us Lee Allen immersed in the mundane situation of LA traffic, a situation already explored with Mark and his friend on the way to the protest. This is not simply filler but imparts no new or essential information except to show us Lee with the associate who will be with him also in Phoenix, establishing a particularly close business relationship between them. In fact, this scene seems to mainly provide opportunity for another seeming continuity error and some peculiar audio.

197 Through a car's front window, the rear view mirror glaring a golden reflection, skyscrapers and a shot of a RICHFELD sign alongside a STANDARD.

The shot continues as the car drives along, the rear view mirror showing reflections of cars. The radio plays.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: The long awaited freeway connecting the central Los Angeles area to the foothills has moved over 50,000 residents to (unintelligible) locations, while the homes (unintelligible) and businesses in the route...

We are given a rare glimpse of a clock and have scarcely enough time to see it and that it reads just past 2:30 before it shifts fully out of focus, the camera bringing into focus Lee Allen's eyes in the rear view mirror.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...have been moved or destroyed according to figures received...

198 Medium shot from rear of Lee driving, another executive sitting in the passenger seat looking over a magazine.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...by the housing administration. Now here's...

As the camera cuts to show, from the rear, Lee driving, the radio does a peculiar overlapping of the newscaster's voice--"Viet, Viet, Vietnam"--though nothing odd happens on screen, then resumes the newscast with a story about Vietnam.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...the toll of U S citizens killed in Vietnam is nearing 50,000, 100 thousands of our young men returning to hospitals...

ALLEN'S ASSOCIATE (interrupting): Did you see this?


This overlap of voice is difficult to explain so I filmed it (as best I could) on my iPhone. Click below to view/listen:

zpclip1

The glitch I think is one not to be overlooked as it would have had to been intentionally recorded. It, and the glimpse of Lee in the rear view mirror, split the two pieces of news, the first of which has to do with "over 50,000" and the latter which has to do with "nearing 50,000". One could look upon it as an audio example of the visual ellipses Antonioni has employed, consecutive perspectives which impart much the same information but are separated by a brief break in time. One might go so far as to look upon Antonioni's repeated emphasis on repetitive architectural details as being in the same vein. But information after the break doesn't always remain pretty much the same. For instance, in the activist meeting Antonioni took the opportunity to move Mark from one part of the room to another. Another version of this slight shift in information is when the female voice-over actor in the Sunny Dunes ad asks "Bob" to repeat the Sunny Dunes phone number, rather than giving the exact same information he gives the P.O. box number.

In the opening activist meeting, a fluid and seemingly uninterrupted dialogue had occurred over Mark moving from a standing position by the fire hose to a seated position elsewhere. Here instead the visual remains constant while the audio stutters and repeats itself.

The thrice repeat of "Viet" will be recalled in such repetitions as toward the end of the film when we view Lee's living room in Phoenix and the surrounding boulders are repeated three times in the windows.

LEE: What's that?

ALLEN'S ASSOCIATE: We have 7 centi-millionaires now.


I'm unable to tell what he says exactly but the article seems to be about multi-millionaires, showing also the words "to nine figures".

199 Medium shot from the right of the passenger reading the article.

LEE: Who's we?

ALLEN'S ASSOCIATE: California. Texas just has 4. New York still has the most.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: Another outburst at California State College...

LEE: Yah, so far anyways. It's still Friday here.

ALLEN'S ASSOCIATE (laughing): That's right.


I'm unclear if Lee has said "It's still Friday" but that's what it sounds like.

NOTE: Thanks to John Bourassa who helped me with filling out some of this dialogue which I wasn't able to make out. Appreciate it!

200 Shot of American Airlines Billboard.

They pass a billboard of a pilot's extended arm, showing his wrist watch. "27 times a day to New York. American Airlines." The wrist watch shows the time as perhaps 9:20 (?), prompting Lee to check his own watch.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...without incident although (?) students near the cafeteria brought in...

201 Medium shot from the side of the passenger, Lee observed beyond checking his watch in response to the billboard.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...over two hundred campus police, highway patrolmen and sheriff deputies. 25 students were arrested...

202 The car pulls behind a yellow cab advertising on its rear, "Need a job? See me or call..."

We also observe a Majestic Meat Packing Co. truck.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...along with three professors believed to be members of a militant organization on campus. The governor spoke at a businessman's luncheon...

As the taxi changes lanes, we see a red car before it...

Before Mark had dropped his friend off at the strike, he'd filled in the OR paper that would mean early release in case of a mass bust. Then at the police station we'd seen them wearing clothing from the previous day. Antonioni sometimes accompanies gestures etc. with their opposites. Here, I wonder if Lee being shown driving in late to his meeting is a response to the idea of being released early. Early/late. At the end we're shown the sign asking "Need a job?" which takes us back to another "late" scene, when Daria met Lee at Sunny Dunes as he was working late, he asked if she did secretarial work and she said she did when she needed the bread.

As noted we also have the seeming continuity error and a peculiar audio glitch with the radio. The continuity error involves a building's clock showing the time as 3:30. This is supposed to be morning so we'll soon learn this is impossible. Is the clock broken? Why bother showing it? Antonioni further draws our attention to the idea of the timepiece--and time itself--with the pilot on the American Airlines billboard checking his watch, which shows 9:20. This is an intentional focus on time, as Lee then checks his watch. Does he do it when seeing the earlier real clock? No, he thinks to do it in response to the ad.

KNX

Antonioni takes us from Lee on his way to work, ending with a news report about the strike/protest at the school, to Mark listening to the same news report and then making the decision to go to the school and check out what's happening for himself.

The motel in which the protagonist is staying at the beginning of Antonioni's The Passenger, in Saharan Africa, shares much in common with Mark's room, which really was just a standard style of student living at the time, little income available for anything but some sheets, the clothing on one's back, and music. Antonioni pegged it. (My husband and I were living the same way ten years later when in school, just starting out, no possessions at all, none yet accumulated.) What this means to the protagonist in The Passenger, a journalist living out of his suitcase, frustrated with his profession and life, is a spontaneous ease in at least playing with the idea of switching identities, unencumbered by excess possessions and distanced from friends and relations. The switch is triggered by his discovery of a gun in the belongings of another traveler who has died. Adopting the other person's identity, he learns he is now an arms dealer. On the surface, Mark's predicament seems different. But he also, in possession of a gun, finds himself in the position of either being mistaken for another or at least the actions of another, which ultimately results in his bearing what was perhaps the fate of another.

203 Medium shot of Mark seated in a room before an open window, an American flag tinted red hanging on the wall at screen right.

Cut to Mark sitting on the bed inside an older somewhat rundown home typical for student/artist housing. A U.S. flag dyed blood red hangs on the wall. The radio newscaster is finishing a story on the protest.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: ...luncheon yesterday, and said the time has come to remove the campus problem students.

204 Long shot of Mark seated on his bed before the window, outside of which we see transformers. Seated to the left before another window is Mark's friend #2, the one with whom he had purchased guns.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: KNX checks the weather from the KNX weather tower at ...

The news turning to the weather, Mark's friend cuts off the radio as Friend #1 (with the mustache) enters the room from the left.

205 Medium shot of Mark putting on his shoe, and Friend #2 buckling his wrist watch on his arm.

MARK: I've got to go down there and see for myself.

Friend #2 exiting the room screen left, Friend #1 sits on the bed and dials a number on the phone.

206 Medium shot of Mark exiting the bedroom door for the hall.

MARK: Hey, after that call keep the line free. I might have to call back.

207 Mark takes a pistol from a cupboard and the camera zooms in on his leg as he crouches and slips it into his boot under his jeans.

208 Exterior of the house.

Mark exits as two black children on bicylcles ride merrily past. Mark runs to the right to where his truck is parked behind a building on the next lot though there are "No Parking" signs on the building's rear.

209 Medium shot of Mark climbing in his truck.

We hear what sounds like a police whistle alongside the sounds of traffic. He drives off.

210 Long shot of the truck entering the street and sliding through a stop sign to turn right onto a main street.

The point has been emphatically made, repeatedly, that Mark is seeking visibility, confrontation. He made himself conspicuous in the activist meeting, saying he was ready to die, and walking out. He made himself conspicuous when he flashed a "fuck you" hand sign at the two policemen on motorcycles. He made himself conspicuous and endangered his life when he ran the stop light and nearly collided with two cars. He made himself conspicuous at the police station, which got him arrested. Now, he again makes himself conspicuous by parking in a NO PARKING area. Then, as he leaves, he runs a stop sign.

Where's Daria?

211 Lee's car pulls up before Sunny Dunes Development Co.'s skyscraper.

The Rod Taylor site gives a Nov 24 1968 news article as stating the exterior of the building was the freshly minted Beneficial Plaza building, 3700 Wilshire Blvd.


View Larger Map

212 Cut to slightly closer shot, from the rear, of the car stopping.

Lee gets out. The passenger moves over into the driver's seat and drives away. Lee goes to screen right, swinging his briefcase, to the Sunny Dunes Development Co. building.

213 Long shot of Lee opening a door and entering the building.

Another example of Antonioni's use of repetitive lines and patterns (see shot 93 and 157 for a couple of other examples out of many), the intervals so collapsed here that were it not for Lee opening the door we'd have no idea where there was the entrance.

214 Shot from Lee's POV going down the entry marble hall toward the security guard's desk.

We see a woman in black and white boarding an elevator to the right.

This shot happens to replay what would have been Daria's perspective as she ran down the hall, past the elevators, in the scene immediately following the activist meeting.

There has been no music apart from that during the opening credits and the lush commercial music accompanying the Sunny Dunes promo. As Lee enters the lobby, we having his viewpoint of the security guard at the reception desk, the large billboard through the window beyond, Muzak styled string music begins. The guard comes from behind his circular station to greet him and we see the billboard beyond reads "Investment Counselors, Key to Y...".

215 Long shot from left, down an intersecting hall, of the guard addressing Lee.

SECURITY GUARD: Morning, sir.

LEE: Morning, Tom, how are you?


Lee walks left down the hall as he speaks, not waiting for the guard's response.

216 From inside a room lined with seeming computers flashing lights, we view Lee out in the hall as he passes and exits another door to the left.

217 Cut to a wall of stock exchange developments.


Lee enters from the left and glances up at a screen showing news on Caesar's Palace, looks over the numbers on the stock board.

218 Close-up of stock exchange information board.

We hear someone making a phone call, "...well, its' getting real hectic now, I'd like to see you pick up something..."

219 Close-up of stock exchange ticker showing IR 4s46 PDC 2S257 etc.

220 Cut to shot of the board room and individual on the window sill before a recorder. He is seated to the right of the television on which had played the promo. He cuts off the tape and rises.


PROMO MAN: Care to see them again?

221 Shot of board members from behind.

The white-haired man standing and approaching "Tim". We see through the large window BANK OF CALIFONIA. Out the window we clearly see also a "Jesus Saves" sign which strikes as amusing as other signs out the window have been banking, and so many of the signs in the movie have to do with savings.

WHITE HAIR EXEC: Uh, no thanks, Tim. We'll call your boss if we decide to make any changes.

222 The transparent Sunny Dunes ESTATES graphic with Lee observed entering through a door beyond.

LEE: Morning boys!

All respond. He's asked, Want to see these commercials?

LEE: Later, I've got that conference in Phoenix.

WHITE HAIR EXEC: What time's your plane?

LEE: A couple of hours.


223 Aerial shot of interstate cutting through the desert.

There are many aerial shots in the film. This is the first one, having not to do with Mark's escape via a plane but Daria.

In this section she pulls off the interstate and up before a billboard advertising Desert Springs Saving and Loan which displays a huge salad bowl filled with what appear to be cucumbers, red circlets of radish and dollar bills, "You are what you eat. Try our salads. Save at Desert Springs Saving and Loan." The first and last scene in which we'd seen her previous to this had her telling Lee that she was a secretary when she needed bread. The billboard continues this discussion, informing that you are what you eat and inviting Daria to try a heaping bowlful of greens/money.

She examines a map that reads New Mexico but it is obviously Arizona (perhaps a combo map). She's looking at the area on Interstate 17 between Phoenix, and Flagstaff, perhaps somewhere in the New River or Black Canyon vicinity. It's difficult to tell.

Had she left LA early in the morning she would likely have taken Interstate 10 to Phoenix, it being the most straightforward path. Though if she had gone up Interstate 15 she could have then taken 40 through the Mojave Desert and then down 93 to 17 to Phoenix. By Highway 10 the journey is about 6 hours from LA to Phoenix. On 15 to 40 the distance through the Mojave to Kingman, Arizona is about 5 hours then 4 hours after that to Phoenix.

The best time distance from Los Angeles to Zabriskie Point is 5 hours. Then from Zabriskie Point to Phoenix, Arizona it is about 8 to 9 hours.

Daria clearly seems to believe she is outside Phoenix, the way she is checking the map, turning it side to side, and looking out the windows as if to see if the desert roads match the map. Finally, frustrated, she tosses the map in the back seat and returns to the highway.

Folk rock music plays.

...he don't care what the people say,
getting everything together,
telling everybody got to get away.
Leaving in the morning at the break of dawn
carrying a pocket of seed
Sure to get ahead at everything he done
getting everything he needs...


224 Shot of a DESERT SPRINGS SAVINGS AND LOAN billboard through a car window.

225 Daria from the left, in the car, examining the map.

She looks right and left out the windows and tosses the map in the back seat.

226 Daria's car traveling on past the sign back to the interstate.

Just as Daria is wondering where she is and where she is headed, Antonioni gives the audience no anchors by which they may be identify where Daria may be, other than allowing us to see the map and that she is examining area above and around Phoenix.

227 Office hall view showing Lee entering, passing by a series of blue windows which seem to be an aquarium. He cuts left and enters the body of his skyscraper office with its stunning view of downtown LA and the Art Deco Richfield Tower which was torn down shortly thereafter.

Movie Locations instead of the Beneficial Building gives the Sunny Dunes office as filmed at the old Mobile Oil Building, 612 Flower St. and Wilshire, it now being Pegasus Apartments, and that it was here from which one viewed the Richfield Oil Building. The exterior of Sunny Dunes was obviously not the Pegasus Apartments so perhaps it was at the Mobile Oil Building where the extra floor was built for the office, while the exterior was shot at the Beneficial Building.

It's stated another floor was built for purposes of the movie and one can see perhaps why, the eye level with the angelic figures and trees being perfect.

228 Medium shot of Lee behind his desk.

Lee's office is nothing short of Mount Olympian god-like, high above the mundane cares of the Everyman, situated to take in the grand picture.

Lee contemplates the phone, makes a brief call. We hear a car horn honk outside. He sets the phone down.

229 Medium shot from the left of Lee.

He then calls his secretary.

NATALIE (on intercom): Yes sir?

LEE: Natalie, where's Daria?

NATALIE: I don't know, sir. I haven't seen her.

LEE: Try her at home, will ya?

NATALIE: Yes, sir.


230 Medium shot of Lee seating himself at the desk.

He thinks a moment, picks up some papers to look over them.

231 Natlie at her desk.

NATALIE: I called Daria at her home, sir. There's no answer.

232 Medium shot of intercom on Lee's desk.

NATALIE (on intercom): Perhaps she's sick, sir, and...

LEE: That's all right, Natalie.


Lee interrupts her, cuts her off and drums his fingers on the desk.

233 Medium close-up of Lee smoking before his window.

He then calls Daria's number himself.

MAN ANSWERING: Good-bye.

LEE: This is Sunny Dunes Offices calling. Do you know where I could reach Daria?

MAN: No idea. I'm crashing here. She left early this morning.

LEE: She left. What flight did she take?

MAN: Flight? She took my car.

LEE: Do you mind telling me who this is I'm talking to?

MAN: Yeah, I mind. Hello. (He hangs up.)

The counter-culture doing things backwards. Goodbye instead of hello and hello instead of goodbye.

234 Another view of Lee's office showing Indian pottery in a glass case.

Bronze horses also decorate his office, and desert sage (I think) preserved in resin blocks.

235 Another view of Lee with the large cactus behind him.

Distracted, he is obviously thinking less of business than he is of Daria, and attempts to reorient himself, cutting on a recording of a board meeting.

236 View of Lee from beneath his desk as the recoring plays.

RECORDING: 3 million more people here in the next 10 years?

RECORDING: Oh, standard research shows this to be even higher.

RECORDING: Yes, I've heard that.

RECORDING: Are these figures for the whole state?

RECORDING: No...

RECORDING: ...just southern California.

RECORDING: You know what that means?

RECORDING: What?

RECORDING: That means development of at least a quarter of a million acres.

RECORDING: Well, now, our position in the market would create a capitol expenditure for us of five billion for us over a ten year period...

RECORDING: That's pretty fantastic.

RECORDING: Well, we can handle that.

RECORDING: This doesn't even consider the state and federal expenditures, cost of living index or inflation.


Lee listens, looking anxious.

For some reason, when the camera switches to the view under Lee's desk, the monitor in the background begins quickly fading to black and then fading the image back in, fade to back and fade the image back in, over and over.

Join Us

237 Close-up of a gas mask on a police officer.

238 A row of officers with batons.

239 Long shot of long row of officers standing on green, sounds of protest in the background.

240 Chairs overturned on a walkway, a table, with smoke drifting past, a green filled with students beyond.

241 Another scene of masses of students milling. The police are yelling, Move back! In their riot gear they advance on the students, pushing them back.

242 Students yelling on a green.

243 Another shot of students on a green and general mayhem.

244 Student protesters before a building on the roof of which are a number of students surveying the scene, police running past below.

245 View of protesters panning to close-up of police.

246 View of police attacking a protester.

247 View from the interior of building in which a lower pane of window is busted out of a door. Students yelling "Power to the people."

248 A man with blood pouring down from around his ear.

249 A medic attending to another.

250 Yet another student on the ground, head bloodied, attended by a photographer.

251 Another protestor on a stretcher surrounded by bloodied bandages.

252 Blood on a sidewalk and pan to bloodied bandages.

253 Bloodied bandages being raised on a flag pole.

254 A police car with siren blaring pulls up and backs up to a brick building.

255 Long shot of students on a green, reddish pink papers and white papers littering the grass beyond. Officers piling out of the car yell for the area around the building to be cleared. A few students run into an enclosed area adjoining a building opposite the one that has been taken over by the protestors.


The Wikipedia page on Zabriskie Point gives the campus scenes as filmed at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California.

256 Medium-long shot of Mark arriving on the scene, descending an exterior staircase.

He drops his coat and continues. Then stops at a ballister and leans over it, looking out over the scene.

257 We see what seems to be a shot from Mark's POV of him looking over the area where the students have hidden to the police and the building beyond that is occupied by the protestors. Examining the images one can see how Antonioni has set up this impression, but it is impossible as we shall see that Mark is actually at the end of the building to the far right of the protestors in the enclosure.

This is at least the impression Antonioni has given us, that Mark runs down the stairs and looks to his left, our screen right, over the protestors who have run for cover behind the redwood-stained enclosure.

LT. BELL ON BULLHORN: This is Lt. Bell of the Metropolitan Police Department. You are in violation of section 415 of the penal code.

258 Medium-long shot of Lt. Bell next to his police car, standing alongside a police officer in a gas mask.

LT. BELL: We know you are armed. If you don't throw your weapons out immediately, and give yourselves up, we'll be forced to get you out by other means.

The camera pans to show five black students listening from inside the building, standing before a drawing of Bruce Lee on green paper that has been clipped out oddly.

Here's a pun that really surprised me.

The green image of Bruce Lee stands out as in a bit we will have Mark shot through a green filter and wearing sunglasses. I'm going to say that the Bruce Lee image refers to him as Kato in the TV show The Green Hornet, which involved, of course, dual identities, the Green Hornet on police books as a real criminal but in real life he only pretended to be one in order to infiltrate gangs. This would remind activists of things like COINTELPRO.

I feel confident making the guess about Bruce Lee from the Green Hornet as if you look back at shot 157 you'll see Antonioni zoomed in on a green neon sign for guns-archery. In the next shot, we are in the gun shop, but in the foreground is a horn hanging next to a pole. It is only briefly seen in this shot and not again. Green followed by the horn. Then here we have Bruce Lee from The Green Hornet. We will have yet another reference to this later.

Which makes one wonder, however, if this was Mark's role in the film. He appears to be a clueless, pointless activist when instead he is agitator/informant. And then something breaks down and he moves over into his pretend role and becomes the activist he'd been pretending to be. This would fit in with the journalist character in The Passenger who takes up the role of being the illegal gun dealer and becomes that person.

Or do we have instead the idea of the greenhorn, which comes from the idea of a young, horned animal like an ox, which would fit also with The Passenger as Antonioni identifies the protagonist with the bull killed in the bull ring.

A little more about this in the next section.

259 Long shot of Reading Room.

We are shown the empty reading room littered with leaflets. The sign "Reading Room is for those who want to study," reminds of the opening meeting and the man who had resembled Mark who'd asked, "But why, why stop the students that want to go?"

260 Close-up of police officer in face shield.

261 Medium shot from inside the building of the police officer exterior the building.

262 Medium shot of officer in gas mask and zoom in on him, red flowers in the foreground.

263 Long shot of officers standing outside the building with guns raised.

264 Medium shot of officer in gas mask shown standing outside a broken glass window.

Another reference to the activist meeting is the "Join Us" poster in the front window.

The officer looks at the camera, then approaches the broken window.

265 Shot from inside the building of the officer tossing a tear gas canister through a broken window.

We see it roll on the floor, spark, smoke pouring out.

266 Long shot of Mark leaving the stairs and hiding behind the Liberal Arts building.

We have another view of Mark and the Liberal Arts building. We already have been given the impression that Mark was looking over the protestors from behind their left. He isn't, but that is the impression that sticks. Now Antonioni shows Mark coming up on the left of the Liberal Arts building.

267 Close-up of gas-masked officer and his rifle, shielded by the police car door, from behind.

268 The building and its broken window from outside.

269 An officer, from behind, his face reflected in his face shield.

270 Exterior of the building. Activity inside causes an officer in front to back up to the right.

271 Officer backing behind foliage.

272 The broken window of the building and the police car reflected in the window. Four of the activists emerge from the building and lie on the ground. They are told to lie on their stomachs on the sidewalk.

273 Briefly from the POV of the building we see beyond a bright red protest poster lying face down on the ground behind the police.

We are finally given a view of the Liberal Arts building in relation to the police officers and the building that was occupied. We see to the right of a center stairway the redwood-stained enclosures where the protestors that fled have hidden. Mark is way over hiding behind a corner on the far screen left.

274 Protestors lying on the sidewalk before the building.

The last activist to exit stumbles out holding the front bottom hem of his shirt.

275 Close-up of police officer in face shield yelling.

OFFICER: He's got a gun!

Quick pan to the left to another officer in a face shield who shoots.

276 The man falls to the sidewalk.

As predicted by the Sunny Dunes development commercial which showed the possible "bagging" of a mountain lion by an eager gunman, a "panther" is killed.

277 Low medium shot of two officers, one yelling, "Get down on the sidealk and don't move"

278 Medium shot of Mark beside the Liberal Arts building. Mark has been shown coming down the other side of the Liberal Arts Building. Observing the shooting, he reaches for his gun in his trouser leg...

279 Long shot from behind Mark of an officer being shot by someone else. He falls to the ground. Mark puts his hand to his face.

280 Closer shot of the fallen police officer as we hear it being said to get on the radio and call for reinforcements.

281 Medium close-up of Mark turning and fleeing the scene, grabbing his jacket he'd dropped.


Mark flees up the same steps he initially came down. He has always been on this side of the building.

282 Mark fleeing.

The audience likely tends to look upon Mark as being to some extent culpable--due his rashness, even his just plain stupidity--for his being consequently confused with the shooter. Because he had shared intention. He has a gun. He goes to pull it from his boot. Would he have fired it? Mark seems like he's been looking for just such a moment that would provide him the opportunity. But we'll never know if he would have fired it. He didn't. Someone else did, an invisible someone. Cleaver had said in the opening section, "The enemy is invisible. Things happen, they don't know where, they don't know how. People do things and the people who they have their attention focused on are being nothing but distracting attention..." Mark doesn't know who the shooter was, but they are now bound together, and Mark becomes "the people who they have their attention focused on are being nothing but distracting attention..."


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