Il deserto rosso/The Red Desert

Italy, 1964 Directed: Michelangelo Antonioni. Starring: Monica Vitti, Richard Harris.

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It’s cold outside. Everyone is abandoning the streets and wrapping up in a miserable mountain of blankets. Itching to venture outside, but not wanting to bear the cold leaves one anxious and nervous. And so, I decided to dig out Michelanglo Antonioni‘s The Red Desert to revisit the nervous and beautiful Giulia.

Of all the glamour goddesses of the 1960s, I feel that Monica Vitti is a lesser known star to today’s generation. Perhaps this is because she mostly worked in her native language, Italian. She is a stunning girl and exudes a most “classically glamourous” style.

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The Red Desert was Antonioni‘s first attempt at a colour film. He said he wanted “paint the film as one paints the canvas” that is to say, not to limit himself to only natural colour schemes. The result is starkly grey backdrops, the backyards of working factories with an apocalyptic touch dotted with crisp vibrantly coloured coats and dresses of Giulia (Vitti). It’s more colour blocking!! Just suitably winter for my side of the planet.

It’s a refreshing reminder, that just because is grey and grubby outside, doesn’t mean you have to accessorise to match.

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red desert film, il deserto rosso, red desert style, red desert fashion, red desert monica vitti, red desert screenshots, red desert stills

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red desert film, il deserto rosso, red desert style, red desert fashion, red desert monica vitti, red desert screenshots, red desert stills

red desert film, il deserto rosso, red desert style, red desert fashion, red desert screenshots, red desert stills

Io sono l’amore/I Am Love

Italy, 2009 Directed: Luca Guadagnino. Starring: Tilda Swindon, Flavio Parenti and Edoardo Gabbriellini.

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Personally, when I think to myself about what a “fashion film” is, I’m not inclined to care for the likes of Sex and The City. I find theme a little too contrived to maintain my interest and the outfits too stylised to scream “faHshion”. I prefer a film to grab me emotionally, sweep me up in its soundtrack, imagery and energy. The clothing speaks something about the character’s identity, situation, dreams or whatever!! Just as we wake up daily and decide how to present ourselves to the world, I want to see the characters in films do likewise and embrace their own personal style.

And if any film could be considered a “fashion film”, the sumptuous, provocative and emotionally charged film, I Am Love, befits perfectly.

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I Am Love follows the wealthy Italian Recchi family during their period of turmoil in the dawning years of the new millennium. There are a number of changes and confrontations experience by all, but the most intriguing, and important, revolves around Emma’s (Tilda Swindon) affair with young chef Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). Most impressively, Swindon learnt Italian with a Russian accent for the role and she is most convincing.

I don’t want to indulge in revealing the plot too much. This film in made to be consumed firsthand. The stunning imagery leaves such an impression and is seasoned delectably with it’s soundtrack. The costumes are so striking and Antonella Cannarozzi was appropriately nominated for an Academy Award. Emma is so very elegant colour blocking those slip dresses, with simple dashes of red on the lips and classic sparkles at the ears.(Don’t those wrap around sunglasses so perfectly capture the essence of the time?) A lavish and graceful film, a must see!

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