It’s a Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie Point

It's a Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie Point. Courtesy of Public Shore Films.

It’s a Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie Point is described as an unconventional essay film from filmmaker/historian Daniel Kremer.

After Kremer decided to make the film available on Vimeo at the end of March, I decided to give it a watch. It took a few days to get around to watching but I finally made the time on Wednesday night. Please note that it will only be available on Vimeo for a limited time. Anyway, it speaks to just how hard it is to release a film these days, especially an unconventional essay film such as this one.

I’m not familiar with Zabriskie Point–the film or the place in Death Valley–but what piqued my interest in this film was It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Anyone who knows me knows that it’s one of my favorite comedy movies of all time. My introduction to it did not come until after returning from Israel in 2007 and reading Lawrence J. Epstein’s The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America. I would later start watching the top AFI comedies and because of the classic comedy, I made sure to visit the Cinerama Dome back in January 2020. As far as this film goes, it is not for everyone but I’m sure that people will get something out of it. It gave me a newfound perspective on Kremer and his relationship with film. Make no mistake that this is easily Kremer’s most personal film by far.

Kremer lets his audiences know right off the bat about his love for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. The 1970 film is controversial but this didn’t stop Kremer from wanting it for his birthday as a child. The film became one of his favorite films and the impetus for making the documentary. We all have our own tastes so I’m not going to begrudge someone for having different tastes than me. I opt for escapist fare but to each their own. It wasn’t until production in which the filmmaker finally visited the location in person. Prior to doing so, it would frequently show up in his dreams. I suppose a filming location is a frequent occurrence in dreams. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know.

On one hand, Kremer mashes up Antonioni’s film with the classic Stanley Kramer comedy. But on the other hand, the film is an essay that really dives into the history of the desert–mainly Death Valley–on the big screen. If you’re coming into the film thinking that it’s a 100% mashup between the two films, prepare to be disappointed. It is a completely different experience altogether and that’s okay. Kremer inserts clips from other films throughout the runtime but finds a way back to the film. I’ve already added a film to my watchlist as a result. But anyway, it’s fascinating to watch the counterculture art film seamlessly edited together with the madcap comedy.

Kremer’s work in mashing the two films together led to something bigger. If the two films weren’t enough, one could go back to Erich Von Stroheim’s Greed in 1924. And again, Kremer’s essay starts to paint a picture that associates artists with the desert. Why is it that filmmakers keep coming back to the desert? Anyway, Kramer and Antonioni’s films were released several years part but with a very different culture. The former precedes The Beatles arriving in America while the latter comes after their breakup. Or to put it in different ways, the JFK assassination would change America as we know it. Interestingly, a few film clips deal with either JFK (Flashpoint) or assassinations (Winter Kills). More to the point though, the films came out during completely different eras in Hollywood. The studio system (Classic Hollywood) was dying and New Hollywood would follow.

In as much as the film is about the two films, it is also about the history of Death Valley on screen and what Kremer loves about the desert visuals.


It’s a Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie, Zabriskie Point premiered September 1, 2023. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.