When everyone works, it’s hard to find extras for a strike scene…


Monica Vitti as Guiliana in Red Desert, Rizzoli, 1964

From Words Without Borders:

Ravenna, October 15, 1963 Finally, after a year’s delay, we are in Ravenna. Just a week left before the first take. The Red Desert will be born after a long and difficult gestation. Those of us here with Antonioni: Di Palma, the lighting director, Poletti, the architect, Gianni Arduini, and myself. These are the last days of our feverish preparation. Setting: difficulties with Giuliana’s house. The place on the Candiano has the right kind of view of the ships, but the interior won’t do. Doubts about the workman’s house in Comacchio. The street of Giuliana’s store has already been chosen: Via Pietro Alighieri in the heart of Ravenna. Antonioni returns frequently to these places. We inspect the cities and their surroundings; we visit one factory after another. We even stopped by to see the radio telescope in Medicina. Actors: of the lead roles, we still need Ugo, the husband of Giuliana (Vitti). Richard Harris will play Corrado. Weather: sunny. And we need to shoot under clouds, fog, gray. Everyone is assuring us that Ravenna’s always foggy in winter. The locals have us drowning in a sea of fog by next month. Another big problem: the strike scene. Everyone here works; it’s hard to find extras.

Red Desert, Rizzoli, 1964

“Diary”, Flavio Niccolini, Words Without Borders