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.
The numberings of shots here can only be approximations as pan shots, when crossing over a black or white field, sometimes conceal in them cuts to new shots.
1 Medium shot of person's hand, unfocused, moves to woman's hair. METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PRESENTS. Open with a music track of drums. Pink Floyd's "Heart Beat, Pig Meat". A jittery camera, in a series of medium close-ups and close-ups, focuses in here, there, on young people who appear, at first, to be at a school lecture.
2 Continuation of either previous shot or quick cut to new shot of hair, pan to black field, pan to another woman's mouth. Quick pan right to left side of bearded man's face, he dressed in red plaid. Quick pan up to black and then right to face of a dark-haired woman as she turns her profile to the camera.
3 Medium close-up of another woman with dark-blond hair, facing right. A CARLO PONTI PRODUCTION. Whispers enter the track.
4 Close-up, seemingly Mark Frechette, from behind, seated. We don't see his face. MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI'S ZABRISKIE POINT
FEMALE VOICE: Well, as far as that...
5 As camera begins to pan to upper left away from Mark cut now to woman with dark hair seated with hand up to face. She turns her profile to the camera and away. WITH MARK FRECHETTE, DARIA HALPRIN.
6 Cut to camera panning right onto an upraised arm, taking its time focusing in on the raised hand, zeroing in on the watch.
I may as well go ahead and note here, as Antonioni has associated, in this title, the two main protagonists with a wristwatch, placing a focus on time, that the film ends up presenting some problems in which the fictional timeline defies realism. If we pay attention to time in the film, it becomes apparent that Mark and Daria could never have met. I don't know if magical movie time is supposed to overcome all things and we should treat the impossible as possible, but I am going to instead take the approach this impossibility was by choice. You can scream now, "But it's film world! It doesn't have to make sense!" But Antonioni kind of went out of his way to make this not-making-sense happen, which I will detail later.
7 Cut to a blond youth wearing glasses and the camera jittery pans to a white field on the right. Continue pan down to a blond head of hair. PAUL FIX, G. O. SPRADLIN, BILL GARAWAY, KATHLEEN CLEAVER, THE OPEN THEATRE OF JOE CHAIKIN.
The soundtrack repeats the female voice saying, Well, as far as that...
An organ enters.
8 Almost indistinguishible cut from either the same or another head of blond hair to leg of khaki pants. Previous credits continuing. Pan left to unfocused beige/blond field.
9 Right facing profile of light brunette woman with glasses, no rims, her hair pulled back in a kind of ponytail. ROD TAYLOR.
MALE VOICE: ...they're so freaked out they cannot sit up straight in class...
Continue pan down to person behind with black hair.
FEMALE VOICE: What's happening in school...
10 Right rear of brunette man's head on far left of screen with a red unfocused field in the foreground. ORIGNAL MUSIC COMPOSED AND PERFOMED BY PINK FLOYD, COURTESY HARVEST RECORDS.
Amongst the staccato of voices which come and go we are able to pick out a few words. In the mix are sounds, voices and music clips from radio programming.
11 Blond male with clear glass frames.
JERRY GARCIA COURTESY THE GRATEFUL DEAD AND WARNER BROS RECORDS, KALEIDOSCOPE COURTESY EPIC RECORDS, ELECTRONIC EFFECTS BY MUSIC ELECTRONIC VIVA.
Quick pan right over blue then a black field to stop on an unfocused face. Camera pulls back to show this is Cleaver, from the rear, facing right.
12 Extreme close-up female eyes facing left. Cleaver? Then begins a pan left over a red field. Eventually pan up from the red field to a person's mouth in profile, facing left. OTHER SONGS PERFORMED BY (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER) JOHN FAHEY "DANCE OF DEATH" COURTESY TAKOMA RECORDS, THE GRATEFUL DEAD "DARK STAR" COURTESY WARNER BROS RECORDS, ROSCOE HOLCOMB "I WISH I WERE A SINGLE GIRL AGAIN" COURTESY FOLKWAYS RECORDS.
MALE VOICE: ...Gimme a hand, Lance. Motor manufaturers... (Dialogue in italics supplied by Heywood. See bottom of page.)
13 A woman with gold hoop earrings, dark blond hair pulled back in a low pony tail held by a bright red bow, she facing left. She holds up her hand, gesturing as she apparently speaks. We briefly glimpse that she wears rimless glasses.
MALE VOICE (continuing): ...in these states report life expectancy for engines has doubled. I really like that one. Elbow bender... (Dialogue in italics supplied by Heywood. See bottom of page.)
The woman turns and faces the camera. It holds on her a moment during the following voice-over, then pans left over several unfocused faces and holds on the eyes of a woman with blond, wavy hair.
FEMALE: ...we're robots...
14 An unfocused shot of black male on the right facing left, focus on the left screen of red hair in a pony tail held by a band with red beads. PATTI PAGE "TENNESSEE WALTZ" COURTESY MERCURY RECORDS, ROLLING STONES "YOU GOT THE SILVER" COURTESY LONDON RECORDS, THE YOUNGBLOODS "SUGAR BABE" COURTESY RCA VICTOR RECORDS, SOUND TRACK ALBUM AVAILABLE ON MGM RECORDS.
15 Blond male in black-frame glasses on right side of screen, the screen predominately occupied by the unfocused head of a male closer the camera. MUSICAL ADVISER DON HALL, RECORDING SUPERVISOR FRANKLIN MILTON, SPECIAL EFFECTS EARL MCCOY, PRODUCTION MIXER JERRY KOSLOFF, SPECIAL PAINT AND EQUIPMENT COURTESY SINCLAIR BROS.
FEMALE: ...the only reason...
MALE: ...my listeners...
Sound as if of the changing of radio stations as the camera has panned over other unfocused faces to settle on a black male with a slight black mustache facing the camera. Other seeming music enters as the camera rapidly pans right to stop on a close-up of an unfocused white girl's profile.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR ROBERT RUBIN, MAKE-UP JOE McKINNEY, COLLABORATION ON THE EDITING FRANCO ARCALLI, ASSISTANT EDITOR JIM BENSON, SCRIPT SUPERVISOR BONNIE PRENDERGAST, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT SALLY DENNISON, ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR RINA MACRELLI
An indistinguishable female voice as the camera continues its pan now back to the left ending on the torso of a man wearing a brown t-shirt, perhaps Mark Frechette. The arm of a person beyond, wearing a black watch, briefly enters.
MALE: ...Maxi-coats are both a curse and a blessing in New York. Dry cleaners, they're charging 32 shillings to tackle the new styles, nearly double what... (Dialogue in italics supplied by Heywood. See bottom of page for description and more.)
16 Unfocused rear of brunette head on the left and red-blond on the right.
A female voice enters and says, We also....
17 Man with tosseled brunette hair. UNIT PRODUCTION MANAGER DON GUEST, SET DECORATOR GEORGE NELSON, COSTUME DESIGNER RAY SUMMERS.
FEMALE VOICE: ...press conference on...and they said they found...
18 Man with brunette hair, short bangs, and black-rimmed glasses. FILMED IN PANAVISION. METROCOLOR. THE EVENTS (etc).
MALE: ...they're taking our nags, ace.
MALE: Yeah, and making damn good targets of themselves. Let 'em have it.
19 Pan over woman with long light brunette hair, glasses, smoking a cigarette, man in brown trousers seated seemingly up on a table beyond her. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER HARRISON STARR
FEMALE: ...violence, non-violence...
20 Man with dark blond hair on the left. He has a mustache and beard and is dressed in a red plaid shirt and is likely the person we saw in what was approximately shot 2. Behind him is perhaps the black man with the mustache viewed earlier.
MALE: Win a Florida holiday and a color tv...
Quick pan left over black field (individual's head) to unfocused shot of several individuals in background, as other music entering the background briefly agains seems to suggest a change of channels, and end right on an extreme close-up of a blond woman speaking.
PRODUCTION DESIGNER DEAN TAVOULARIS
21 Cut to very fair-skinned man with short blond hair and side burns, facing right, listening intently. DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY ALFIO CONTINI
MALE: ...the problem with drugs may be...
22 Man with short light brown hair viewed through sea of unfocused faces in the foreground, he facing right, listening. Pan to the right over unfocused individuals in foreground. Eventually the camera focuses on a blond woman in profile facing left. WRITTEN BY MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI, FRED GARDNER, SAM SHEPARD, TONINO GUERRA, CLARE PEPLOE
23 A black male with mustache and slight beard facing right, he dressed in a light blue and white striped shirt. PRODUCED BY CARLO PONTI
24 Light-skinned white male with black hair facing the camera, a man with a blue shirt and dark mustache behind him. DIRECTED BY MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI.
25 Rear side view of a black male facing right, dressed in green shirt, hand gesturing, he seemingly speaking.
With the introduction of Kathleeen Cleaver, the credits ending, we become aware that we are not watching students in class but an activist meeting involving the Black Panthers. Very edgy stuff for the time, the Black Panthers a name barely even acknowledged in tremulous whispers in much of suburban society for fear of being smited with the civil rights pox. The majority of American society wasn't integrated. White people lived in great big iceburgs of white where the occasional dots of color were servants. Afros were rebellious proclomations of "No, we don't want to be white!" which was especially frightening, that black people might actually like being black. They were supposed to be content in their misery of if-I-can't-be-white-at-least-I-can-serve-them resignation.
26 Cut to Cleaver in profile facing left, the individual who had been speaking in the previous shot revealed to be seated next to and beyond her. The credits and the credit music ending, we hear the voices in the room. From the notes submitted by Heywood (end of page) it seems that, in the "Heart Beat, Pig Meat" music played during the credits, we can perhaps infer that conversation in the room, including the voice of Cleaver, was buried in the left channel, only occasonal glimpses of voice breaking through legibly, while the right channel was instead occupied by the more radio style snippets of dialogue, ads, news. On one side the animating heart beat, on the other side the "pig meat" of racist, classist, conservative society.
BLACK PANTHER: That's the same old jive you've been running down for the past 300 years.
27 Medium shot from 3/4 rear of Cleaver and companion, a blond woman in a red shirt seated behind.
BLACK PANTHER: You all so wise...why didn't you join us back in the beginning...nah, you just go back and tell them sorry this motherfucker is closed down, on strike, jack and we're...
A round of approving applause.
BLOND IN RED SHIRT: Why doesn't the strike committee add some of our demands, like ending ROTC...
28 Black male with mustache, in white shirt.
BLACK MALE IN WHITE SHIRT: You want to off ROTC all you have to do is go down to the ROTC building, take a bottle, fill it full of gasoline, plug it with a rag...
29 As voices of dissent rise, cut to white male with dark brown hair, dressed in a dark purple t-shirt, seated by a blond girl with a red bandana tied around her forehead.
WHITE MALE IN PURPLE SHIRT: Yeah, man, but what if you want to end sociology.
BLACK PANTHER: Listen man...
30 Black Panther male and Cleaver.
BLACK PANTHER: A Molotov cocktail is a mixture of gasoline and kerosene. White radical is a mixture of bullshit...
31 Shot of room of students seated in chairs, some standing and leaning against the surrounding walls.
BLACK PANTHER: ...and jive...
This is our first shot of the majority of the people of the room, rather than extreme close-ups and close-ups. On the far right we see Mark standing beside a fire hose with two men. As the Black Panther finishes, the room breaks into a round of applause.
32 Medium shot of Mark and two friends. One is dressed in a red shirt, and another in a gray shirt. The one in the gray shirt is the individual with whom he'll later be seen purchasing guns. This friend has on a watch which seems to be nearly identical, perhaps the same watch, as the one on the upraised arm that was earlier focused upon. Mark's friend, too, wears a watch, but its presence is not as noticeable. Mark does not wear a watch, though we don't see this yet.
33 Cleaver and Black Panther in profile facing left as we hear a woman begin to speak.
WHITE FEMALE WITH LONG DARK BROWN HAIR: You know, I don't have to prove my revolutionary credentials to you.
The camera pans over to her, passing an upside down JOIN US sign. She is seated before a black woman in a red, blue and white striped top, and beside a white male in a green turtleneck.
WHITE FEMALE WITH LONG DARK BROWN HAIR: You know, there are a lot of white students already out on the streets fighting, just like you guys do in the ghetto. And you know there are a lot of unhappy, dissatisfied white people who are potential revolutionaries.
34 Medium shot of group of seated individuals at the front of the room. The camera pulls back and we view to the left of them, the male in the dark turtleneck and white shirt who looked so much like Mark. An individual with a cigarette blows smoke so it crosses in front of this individual who looks like Mark.
BLACK PANTHER (off screen): You know, you all are dealing with things that are really irrelevant...
35 Medium close-up of the blond in the red shirt behind the Black Panther. Here she appears instead to be seated on the floor before a chair with the letter H on tape on its back. She looks quickly screen right to screen left.
BLACK PANTHER (off screen): ...you're going back to the same thing, uhm...
36 Medium close-up of blond in dark green shirt.
BLACK PANTHER (off screen): ...you get busted for grass...
37 Medium close-up of several white youths raising their hands to speak, one a woman with medium brown long hair. During the following the camera pans right to a blond man in an orange t-shirt.
BLACK PANTHER (off screen): ...and that makes you a revolutionary. Nah, when the pig is busting you on your head...
38 Mediuim close-up of a blond male with clear glass frames who we had seen during the credits in shot 11.
BLACK PANTHER (off screen): ...kicking down your door, stopping you from living...
39 Close-up profile shot of white male with dark brown hair, listening intently.
BLACK PANTHER (off screen): You can't get a job, you can't go to school...
40 Medium close-up from left of Black Panther and Cleaver.
BLACK PANTHER: ...you can't eat, that's what makes you a revolutionary, dig. That's why black people are, what you say...
WHITE FEMALE (off screen): But wait a minute...
BLACK PANTHER: ...in another bag...
WHITE FEMALE (off screen): ...you're talking about talking...
41 Cut to the blond male in the blue oxford shirt, hand raised to talk. Zoom in.
WHITE FEMALE (off screen): ...to white students...
42 Cut to the white female who has been speaking, a woman in a yellow top, with long, light brown hair.
WHITE FEMALE: I think a lot of us understand, a lot of us have understood what makes black people revolutionaries...
43 Medium shot of girl with black hair listening, finger to lips. She wears a white polka dot top against a dark background.
WHITE FEMALE (off screen): ...but what's going to make...
44 Close-up of white male with dark blond hair, dressed in a red, white and blue plaid shirt.
WHITE FEMALE (off screen): ...white people revolutionaries...
45 Shot of students seated before the upside down JOIN US sign. To the left is the blond male we've observed several times in the light blue oxford shirt, white t-shirt beneath. To the right is a blond male in black-rim glasses, wearing a darker blue oxford cut shirt.
MALE (off screen): Yeah, that's the question for me also...
The white female in the yellow shirt interrupts to say something, and Kathleen Cleaver interrupts her.
KATHLEEN CLEAVER (off screen): ...the same goddamn thing that makes black people revolutionaries...
46 There's been a cut to the white female in the yellow shirt again.
WHITE FEMALE IN YELLOW SHIRT: But it's not happening the same way...
47 Shot of Kathleen Cleaver and others at the front of the room, seated behind a table covered with papers and coffee cups.
CLEAVER: You just wait, it will happen, you don't have to do anything to instigate it, what you can do is prevent it...
48 Medium close-up of white girl with medium brown hair, seated on floor before several circular tables. As Cleaver speaks the camera pans left.
On one of the tables to the right is the book Marx & Engels, which is the Communist Manifesto. The New Statesmen writes of it, "[T]he best possible explanation of what the world was about that I had ever read. It pointed out that the real conflicts in the world were not between black and white, men and women, Muslims, Christians and Jews, Americans, Russians and Chinese; it was about the conflict of economic interest between 95 per cent of the population of the world, who create the world's wealth, and the 5 per cent who own it. I think of Marx as a prophet: the last of the Old Testament prophets. And we should think of him as a teacher ... Karl Marx discovered it all long before I did, and I am very grateful to him."--Tony Benn. This is of particular relevance that Antonioni places this book here. Rather than it being incidental, a text simply read by an activist student, for those who know the work, Antonioni may be suggesting the audience look beyond the film as one concerning racial issues.
The film later inserts a Karl Marx joke in relation to Mark Frechette, "Carl" Marx becoming his alias.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...or you can break it down, or you can do something...but don't be going pellmell into fascism, I mean...
49 Close-up of left profile of Mark listening, facing right.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...I mean the pigs are on the campus now...what do you want...
50 Close-up of white male with light brown hair, seated in the front of the room near the Black Panther, to his left.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...them sitting up in the classroom, you want them in your door, you want them standing on the street every time you walk by...
A muddle of voices over.
Another woman is saying "...have to wait to get to that to be revolutionaries..."
...as the camera pans left away from the individual it had been holding on who was seated to screen left of Cleaver and the Black Panther. There is a brief moment in which the screen is absolutely black...
51 ...then returns focused on the previously observed man with dark hair, dressed in the white shirt over a black turtleneck. His looks are a little different from Mark's but his coloring and the sideburns are the same, and we are becoming more and more aware of how much they do look alike. We've already observed he's seated to screen right of Cleaver, not immediately screen right but on the right side of the room past the table behind which are the principle speakers.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...what we're saying is this school is going to close down, period, there ain't nobody coming in this school unless they come at their own risk...
MAN IN BLACK TURTLENECK AND WHITE SHIRT: ...But why stop...
CLEAVER (off screen): ...and once they decide they want their school back open, they're going to open it on our terms...
MAN IN BLACK TURTLENECK AND WHITE SHIRT (and zoom in on him): But why, why, why stop the students that want to go? I mean, they...
CLEAVER (off screen): Because they're in our way. Because they...
52 Medium close-up of Cleaver's profile facing right.
CLEAVER: ...prevent us from getting what we deserve, we've negotiated, we've pleaded, we have tried all other means, we've pleaded, we've written programs, we've done this, we haven't gotten anything...
53 Medium close-up of Mark Frechette standing before the fire hose, his expression one of frustration. The camera does then a swift pan right and one would expect it to then focus on another individual, but panning right...
54 ...the camera focuses again in an extreme close-up of Mark Frechette facing left on the screen, seated in a chair, nonchalantly lighting up a cigarette.
He was over there, but then suddenly is somewhere else, an ellipse provided via the screen being briefly nearly imperceptibly consumed with the white-beige blur of an intervening shirt (which must be the point when the cut was made). It seems, however, the audio does not concur with this break in time, so we have a hint of doubling rather than a passage of time.
We also have with the smoke and fire of Mark's cigarette a response to the fire hose.
WHITE FEMALE (off screen): ...we can just stop doing...
CLEAVER (off screen): ...the whole point of, the basic point of any form of...
55 Medium close-up of Mark, still seated, with a yellow folded piece of paper to his mouth, his friend in the wine red shirt also seated two chairs over from him.
The earlier black screen shot preceding the man dressed in the black turtleneck and white shirt who looks like Mark, anticipates and balances the beige screen created by the white shirt blur that separated the two shots of Mark, one of him standing and the next of him sitting. Was it the white shirt of the man in the black turtleneck? There's no telling. But the thing is it's a cut that creates an irrational, illogical event which we don't notice. There has been an ellipse of time where in mid-monologue Mark is moved from one place to another with no break in speech. We are not to expect absolute realism in respect of time and space in much of the film, we can't look for it. Indeed, there is one very obvious and unavoidable discontinuity in place and time in the film that stands front and center, involving the place the title pinpoints. Zabriskie Point.
As I mentioned earlier, there is no way possible that Daria and Mark ever meet each other at Zabriskie Point.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...guerrilla confrontation is that the...
56 Medium close-up of Cleaver from the front.
CLEAVER: ...enemy is invisible. Things happen, they don't know where...
57 Cut to shot of the room, a smiling woman excitedly raising her hand, trying to speak.
58 Medium-shot of dark-haired white man sitting near Cleaver. To his screen right is a black man to whom the camera pans.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...they don't know how. People do things...
59 Medium close-up of the blond with the black-rimmed glasses and medium-blue shirt.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...and the people who they have their attention focused on...
60 Close-up of man with blond-red hair, his right profile. He is bearded. As Cleaver speaks the camera pans right from him to her.
CLEAVER (off screen): ...are being nothing but attracting attention...
WHITE MALE (off screen): But I don't think that's the stage we're at yet, we're just beginning to involve people...
CLEAVER: If you want to shut this school down, what do you plan to do...
MALE VOICE (off screen): ...we do not have white support on this campus yet, and until we do...
CLEAVER: Wait a minute, wait a minute, the Black Student Union ain't running no performance...(unintelligible)...depend on that to shut this school down...
61 White male with dark hair in a yellow and blue striped shirt.
WHITE MALE WITH GREEN COLLAR: But this question about the enemy being invisible.
The camera pans over from the man in the yellow and blue shirt to a dark-haired man in black glasses, wearing a shirt with a green collar. He's speaking.
WHITE MALE WITH GREEN COLLAR: I think you're wrong, you know, in terms of white support...
62 Shot of individuals in room facing to the right to hear him speak.
WHITE MALE WITH GREEN COLLAR (off screen): I don't think it really matters that much...
63 Medium shot of the girl with her hair tied back into a partial high ponytail, held in the band with the red beads.
WHITE MALE WITH GREEN COLLAR (off screen): ...because if we're successful tomorrow...
64 The camera returns to the fire hose and there is a blond man standing before it now.
WHITE MALE WITH GREEN COLLAR (off screen): ...what will happen is the cops will consider...
65 Shot of the man speaking and the man in the yellow and blue striped shirt to his left.
WHITE MALE WITH GREEN COLLAR: ...every student, every single student, whether he's on the picket line, or whether he's one of us or not, every student an enemy, and once that happens, then, I think, eventually, if we can keep up the pressure, then it will be a popular...
66 Close-up of the man in the blue and yellow striped shirt attempting to speak up. A bevy of voices interrupts and the camera does a quick pan to the left over to...
67 ...Mark's friend in the gray shirt steps forward with a coffee cup and gestures to a female exiting the kitchen.
MARK'S FRIEND IN GRAY SHIRT: We've run out of coffee.
WOMAN EXITING KITCHEN AND SITTING: Can't a man make coffee around here any more?
WOMAN (unseen): Good for you.
68 Medium close-up of Cleaver pointing with a pencil to the rear of the room.
WHITE MALE IN LIGHT BLUE-GRAY SHIRT (off screen): I say that we form...
69 Man with dark hair in light blue-gray shirt speaks.
WHITE MALE IN LIGHT BLUE-GRAY SHIRT: ...4 or 5 attack squads of our own to be stationed just outside the campus and when the cops move in on the strike lines they...
70 Mark's friend in the red shirt.
WHITE MALE IN LIGHT BLUE-GRAY SHIRT (off screen): ...form a diversionary...
71 Return to the man in the light blue-gray shirt.
WHITE MALE IN LIGHT BLUE-GRAY SHIRT: ...force behind the cops so the picket lines have time to get out of their way...
72 Close-up of Cleaver from the right.
CLEAVER: Wait a minute, now wait a minute...
WHITE MALE (off screen): Aren't cars an effective blockade?
WHITE MALE (off screen): Cars.
OTHER WHITE MALE (off screen): On a campus?
WHITE MALE (off screen): Sure.
CLEAVER (skeptically): Ah, strategically, uh...
WHITE MALE VOICE (off screen): How about your car?
All laugh when it's suggested he use his own car.
WHITE MALE (off screen): It's a Ford Falcon, man, go ahead, you can drive it up, Jack, I'll tip it over.
We have mostly observed the room in snippets, which makes it difficult to define spatial bearings. For this reason, the observer, seeing the man in the blue shirt leaning across the door, may accidentally conflate him with the blond man in the lighter blue shirt shown earlier (shot 64) leaning in a similiar way across the fire hose case before which Mark had been originally standing. This may be intentional.
73 Shot of a man's arm with wrist watch rising in the air, all talking at once. The camera pans down to show he is brunette with a mustache.
74 Medium close-up of Cleaver from the left, speaking.
75 Medium close-up of a white male in the audience speaking.
76 Close-up profile shot of another male speaking.
77 Close-up of a girl with red hair in green bows. She wears glasses with transparent frames.
78 Medium shot of the blond man in the light blue oxford shirt speaking, and the man with the beard in the red plaid shirt also speaking, seated on the floor beside him.
79 Shot of another man speaking and gesturing, the camera beginning to zoom in on him.
80 A man in a light blue shirt with a dark blue collar tries to speak, sitting beside a blond girl in a green dress.
Cleaver's voice rises over all others briefly, silencing.
BLACK MALE: There's only one way to talk to the man...
81 Close-up of a blond man with mustache, left profile looking left.
BLACK MALE (off screen): ...and that's in his own language.
82 Black male with mustache, wearing a white shirt.
BLACK MALE WITH MUSTACHE IN WHITE SHIRT: If his language is guns, we talk to him with a gun, it's very simple...
83 Medium close-up of the blond male wearing the light blue oxford shirt. Side.
BLOND MALE IN LIGHT BLUE OXFORD SHIRT: Are you willing to die?
84 Medium close-up of Mark, he facing screen right.
BLACK MALE (off screen): Black people are dying...black people are dying already in this country, black people have earned this leadership in blood, jack, we're not going to give it up.
MARK (standing): Well, I'm willing to die, too.
FEMALE (off screen): Alone?
85 A pan from the front of the room toward the rear as all turn to look at Mark.
The black man in the white shirt and mustache who sits near Cleaver is the one who was talking about if a man's language was guns then they would talk to him with a gun. Sitting next the girl with the green bows in her hair is another black man in a white shirt, turned to look to the rear, who is dominant here as he sits higher than the others. He is the individual who is perhaps later shot. The camera's line of sight is such that his positioning obscures, behind and beyond him, the individual in the white shirt and black turtleneck we'd observed earlier, following the blank black screen, who looks similar to Mark, seated in the corner to (our) right of the table beside the blond male in the blue shirt and thick black glasses. We're never given a clear shot of the face of the black individual who is shot, but his build and afro are identical, and we've been briefly given the opportunity to observe, during the meeting, that this individual wears a leather watch band on his right wrist, as does the man who is shot.
86 Medium shot of Mark facing left into the room.
MARK (turning to leave): And not out of boredom.
87 The man in a purple shirt, with hair similar to Mark's, looking back at him.
MAN IN PURPLE SHIRT: Who the hell is he?
88 Camera on Mark's back as he exits, his friend in the red shirt steps into the frame from the left.
MARK'S FRIEND IN RED SHIRT (LATER IDENTIFIED AS MORTY): He's okay, man, he's my roommate. I guess meetings just aren't his trip.
89 Man in blue and yellow striped shirt.
MAN IN BLUE AND YELLOW STRIPED SHIRT: Look, man, if he didn't come to join us, he shouldn't have come at all.
MARK'S FRIEND IN RED SHIRT (off screen): Why the hell not? How else is he going to determine...
The camera pans to the man in the white shirt with green collar who is beside the man in the yellow and blue striped shirt.
MAN IN SHIRT WITH GREEN COLLAR: Well, what is this, meetings aren't his trip? What kind of nonsense is that? If he wants to be a revolutionary he has to learn to work with other people.
90 Closer shot of the man with the green collar.
MAN IN SHIRT WITH GREEN COLLAR: What was any revolutionary without his people? What was Lenin without his organization? What was Castro without his organization? Even anarchists spend most of their lives talking in meetings...
91 Medium close-up of the man with the green collar as he looks toward the front of the room.
MAN IN SHIRT WITH GREEN COLLAR: ...for Christ's sake.
BLACK MALE (off screen): You ought to take him and go back and start teaching him out of the red book or something. Teach him the first page that teaches about how there's going to be a revolution there must be a revolutionary party. That bourgeoisie individualism that he's indulging in is going to get him killed.
MAN IN SHIRT WITH GREEN COLLAR (laughing): Resolutely struggle against bourgeoisie individualism.
And the camera rapidly pans left as people laugh and free-for-all discussion starts again.
Well, I guess we could call that the story going "live" with Mark boldly highlighting himself for attention by standing forward and announcing that he is ready to die, and not out of boredom.
The scene of the activist meeting has run about 8 minutes and 48 seconds, an extremely long period of time, even exhausting, for which reason I assume that more is at work here than what will seem to the audience an overlong documentary style presentation of a chaotic and muddled meeting, which at this point I believe at least partly involves the idea being raised of of the invisible, enemy element partnered with that which attracts attention to itself functioning as a diversion. This is critical and has less to do with politics in the film than a part of Antonioni's mystical vision. Invisible elements at work and distractions taking our attention away from these is a common theme in Antonioni's work.
The idea has also been voiced that Mark's individualism is what will get him killed, and when Mark is supposedly shot toward the film's end the number "one" will be painted on the plane in which he dies. A taste of foreshadowing, but exactly what will it mean, that "one"?
We see here who may be the individual killed by the police officer at the strike, and it is possible that we, too, get a guess of who kills the officer in retaliation, or at least who is seen at the strike who looked like Mark. Which is quite possibly the man dressed in the white shirt and the black turtleneck. For though Mark will be at the strike, he will not necessarily be the person who is observed there and identified as being perhaps Mark. I'm not saying this is so, just that it's a possibility.
In the realm of the obvious, we've been introduced to the angry rebel-with-a-bonafide-cause segment of the youth cultural revolution of the 60s-70s. It is political, socially-conscious, anxious for real and meaningful change, sometimes naive, and comprehends how it and its dreams are endangered by the very halls of education that have cultivated intellectual freedom and a theory of equality. Now is time to meet the blithe, flower child, soul mate.
To play Mark and Daria (who we will now meet), Antonioni found...Mark and Daria. To make manifest the protagonists as authentic he made the pretense of bypassing actors for the real thing, which was problematic as the authentic, in a role to play, provided a script, no matter how realistic, becomes necessarily inauthentic by its own definition. Mark, in interviews after the film, complained as to lack of authenticity in the film and with his character.
* * * * * * * * * *
Additional audio content for the opening credits has been supplied by Heywood, of Magnaqualitasrecords.jimdo.com, one of the MQR team that restored the Omayyad outtakes and created the bootleg, "A Total Zabriskie Point of View - The Complete Collection".
Just to clarify the beginning of this post, I have used phase cancellation and EQing tricks to isolate the dialogue in the separate channels of Heart Beat Pig Meat. The right channel is Don Hall, the film's music director, reading. He was recorded on two tracks. On one he reads articled from the newspaper, on the other a book. The two are faded back and forth between each other.
On the right channel, however, is a startling discovery: the dialogue from a cut scene from the film. What was previously assumed to be a woman's voice is actually several voices, the bulk of which is a young man with a rather high, immature voice. He can be heard in the film. Also heard on the song are the girl listed above as white female and, near the end, Cleaver. It is my belief that this happens either just before the film begins or possibly just after Mark leaves the room. This is a transcript of the dialogue as close as I can manage:
This is Don Hall's dialogue from the right channel of the song:
..are concerned because teenagers are sometimes so freaked out they cannot sit up straight in class. This is getting. . .
. . . Gimme a hand, Lance. Motor manufacturers in the States report life expectancy of their engines has doubled. I really like that one. Elbow bender. . . '
. . . my listeners. . .
. . . Maxi-coats are both a curse and a blessing for New York dry cleaners. They're charging 32 shillings to tackle the new styles, nearly double what. . .
"They're taking our nags, Ace!" "Yeah! And making damn good targets of themselves. Let 'em have it!" A withering fire brought two. . . horses ran free. "Grab them mounts. We've got a chance now. . . "
Win a Florida holiday and a color TV
. . . to charity. . .
. . . battering. . .
What is this. . . it's torture
. . . Heard the sound and told myself this as I stormed out of the house. "I'd like to say no just once" Now we set up. . .
. . . somebody's house. This house is a. . .
. . . organize. Police used tear gas. . .
. . . a million years. . .
And this is the dialogue on the left, a discussion between several students:
man 1: . . . worried about it. They're playing games with us. But that's not that kind of opression.
man 2: Yeah. Can't be. Plus we have. . .
So what are we going to do about it when it happens. If we are actually. . . when it happens.
woman 1: . . . worrying about. . .
man 2: . . . want to educate people about what's going on in school. What's happening in school, that's what all you should worry about. You listen. . . You know. Perhaps white people are more oppressed than black people because they can't even see their own opression. That opression is. . . That, that opression is, ah. . .
. . . police methods are slick, something honest about that. You're a robot, and it gets worse from there. you can recognize that
At least face the facts what's happening in that school. There've been troubles since that school was built.
..people go to school, you know, to get those grades, to get those degrees. To get those grades, your feeling is like one grade is better than the other. . . less, um, less A's and B's, and people. . .
woman 2:. . . and also, you all know that there was a press conference by the police today. And they said that a man with a green book bag pulled a gun, right? And. . .
. . . against why filed and unfiled, all the issues. . .
Kathleen: . . . these motherfuckers using insults, exchanging insults. you want to go and deal with us on that level we'll deal with you at that level. outside. You go outside. Then you know I'll have to meet you. You actually are. There's nothing in 'tween you. We're gonna deal with you [there is an overlap of two words here, the first being "later", at an edit point in the dialogue] They issue statements. Strikes. Does anybody here [some words are obscured by the sibilance of Roger Waters' whispering]
Good one. . . [the name spoken after this is obscured, as is the next line spoken, by the echo on the voices]
[a man's voice] Man they all need me. . . [then he says more, also buried in the echo]
[the black guy sitting by Kathleen]. . . revolution [obscured] we've got our lives on the line
[a couple more obscured words]
I hope this helps clarify the introduction of the film and maybe add some depth to the opening sequence.