Michelangelo AntonioniItaly106 minutes1955B&WItalian
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"Though seldom seen now, Antonioni's fourth feature is one of his greatest films, in which diverse plot strands, character psychology, and a masterful control of the camera are perfectly fused" (Time Out Film Guide). Based on a Pavese novella, Le Amiche is about a young woman who returns to her native Turin to open a fashion salon and falls in with a "smart set," including the suicidal daughter of an eminent family, a painter who is jealous of his wife's success, and a viperous woman who vents her despair by attacking her closest friends. In its emphasis on the spiritual and moral malaise of the wealthy, and in its stunningly abstract style, this important early work looks forward to the filmmaker's groundbreaking trilogy of the early '60s. "Quintessential Antonioni" (Penelope Houston); "A masterpiece of understatement, restraint, economy of style and characterization" (Jonas Mekas).