Le amiche
(The Girlfriends)

Screening on Film
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni .
Italy , 1955, 35mm, black & white, 104 min.
Italian with English Subtitles .
Print source: The Film Desk

The pivotal work of Antonioni's overlooked middle period, Le amiche boldly introduced the major themes of his later masterpieces: urban ennui, class prejudice and enigmatic female desire. In Antonioni's engrossing adaptation of a Cesare Pavese novel a suicide attempt introduces an ambitious young fashion designer into a world of coded silence and surface, a glittering and lonely world of bourgeoisie prosperity embodied by a circle of young women locked into an intricate web of uneasy friendship and furtive competition. Shooting largely on location in wintery Turin, Antonioni captures the slow lacerations of troubled relationships less through dialogue than elegant camera movement and expressively austere sets – from the de Chirico haunted cityscapes to the windswept beach where the film's intricate narrative and emotional choreography reaches a subtle climax. 

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