Le amiche

1955 [ITALIAN]

Action / Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 2721

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 28, 2021 at 12:08 PM


Yvonne Furneaux as Momina De Stefani
Gabriele Ferzetti as Lorenzo
973 MB
Italian 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 46 min
P/S 1 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 10 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Le Amiche

Lorenzo Codelli introduced this film as the only real literary adaptation by Michelangelo Antonioni, based on a short novel written by Cesare Pavese, whose short life but impressive career had a largely influential impact on Antonioni's works. It's a film about women (the literal translation of the title of the story "Tra Donne Sole" means "Between Women Only"), in today's context known as the career girls, and it's also interesting to note that the co-writers of the screenplay were both female, each on opposite ends of the literary spectrum, one a "low-brow" pulp novelist, the other a "high-brow" writer.

And I guess this pairing provided a very complete and enjoyable story which in today's contemporary context would classify if as a chick flick, only that this had plenty of intelligence and a lot of heart, and doesn't come across as a dumbed down condescending story with many cardboard characters thrown in just because. Opening with a sprightly tune, and set in Turn, La Amiche has plenty of insights into the female psyche, and I am quite surprised that it had stood the test of time (more than 50 years!) to be as relevant today just as it was back in the mid-50s.

The story follows Clelia (Eleonara Rossi Drago) from Rome, sent to Turin to supervise the setting up of a fashion boutique branch, and in her temporary stay at the city, befriends a group of high-society and debatable successful ladies through the attempted suicide of one of their clique members Rosetta (Madeleine Fischer), who was found in her adjoining hotel room. From there we examine all their love lives, their work attitudes, their relationships with one another, the entire spectrum which while presenting themselves as little gossipy episodes that women might be prone to (I'm readying myself to be pelted with rotten tomatoes with that statement), it always felt that each individual piece was a perfect contribution to the entirety of the movie, with nary a wasted scene, nor unnecessary subplots provided just to bloat the story.

Antonioni has proved his deftness at handling an ensemble of characters (much unlike his earlier movies, or his famed Trilogy where only a handful of characters get explored) like the de-facto leader of the group Momina De Stefani (Yvonne Fumeaux) whose rich husband being always away on business provides her with an avenue for affairs and the need for constant emotional connection, or what I thought was the more interesting of the lot, was between successful ceramics artist Nene (Valentina Cortese) and her less successful painter fiancé Lorenzo (Gabriele Ferzetti), who becomes romantically linked to Rosetta after painting her portrait, or rather, it was Rosetta who throws herself at him. Completing the group is Mariella (Anna Maria Pancani), a flighty flirty woman with a devil-may-care attitude.

For some reason I was concentrating on the Lorenzo-Nene-Rosetta story, because it was quite compelling to see how it played out and developed, having one of them throw the first salvo at attempted suicide. It also provided a platform to examine how relationships can be strained possibly through emotions like jealousy and one being envious of the other's success, and maybe taking it out on the person through other means, such as the breaking of hearts. Again like Story of a Love Affair (I have no idea why I keep going back to this) it was a similar situation presented, though more explicitly presented rather than leaving it to second guesses. The confrontational scene between Nene and Rosetta was the best in the movie in my opinion, and one of the best I have seen in movies where rival lovers have to confront each other on the truth of the situation, and you can hear the unbelievable groans of an audience upon its resolution, which was quite pathetic and awkwardly delivered, by today's standards. Which is what was intriguing, as it highlighted the perceived role of a woman back then, that the career first mindset was still a novelty, and standing behind your man was possibly the only acceptable societal norm.

And it is this forward-thinking presentation and exploration of modern day themes even by today's standards, that make La Amiche a winner, being still relevant and all. Having 5 girls presented allowed for some comparisons over how some choose love over career despite expected setbacks which come part and parcel with it, and how some choose career over love, where one can excel in without the distractions of disappointment from the heart. Included as well is work ethics, when one doesn't have money as a prime motivator, one would wonder how the other non-tangible benefits would appeal to workers who have to turn up at work everyday, versus coming and going as they please, which I have experienced for myself (as on the receiving end of having to manage the non-attendance of others).

Other moments in the film that were equally enjoyable, include the fashion runway type shows in the old days, without the runway of course, where models have to present the clothes up close and personal in a closed door, intimate setting within the fashion boutique. And what was probably a precursor to the beach scene in L'Avventura get played out here, though it was a location for the rich folks to just stand around and flirt, with no real plan for a weekend getaway. It's still amazing how this particular little setting seem to squeeze so much into it, providing a catalyst for future incidents to burst out from.

Le Amiche will go down in my books as a story starring women, about women and for women that is still highly relevant in today's society. It has withstood the test of time perfectly, and its exploration of women, their relationships, their attitudes that differ depending on either their single or married status, is an amalgamation of keen observations that make this an enjoyable a must-watch, peppered with good punctuations of humour throughout.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 9 / 10

before Antonioni was huge, he was... delicate

This is a little-seen 1955 film by Michelangelo Antonioni, shot before he really got into the sort of directorial wonderment's of L'Avventura and The Eclipse in the 1960's. In fact one has to have seen several of his films, if not an outright fan of his work, to appreciate that it's one of his films.

It's really a melodrama that is given a one-up from its soap-opera tendencies in its story by Antonioni's fluid camera style and the performances. There are little moments- again if you know his work a little bit- where you can see the inklings of what would come in the prime of his career as an art-house theater master. But if you're a newcomer to his work it works just as well, if not better, because of how it is told without pretense.

Clelia (Eleonora Rossi Drago) is set to run a fashion salon. She becomes apart of a group of fairly well-off late-20, early-30-something women after one of the girls, Rosetta (Madeline Fischer) overdoses on pills. She becomes close to them, or close as she would want to be, and sees how close-knit they are - and, as girlfriends can tend to be, occasionally vicious in verbal ways, such as a scene on a beach that is shaky at best and volatile at worst - and also their romantic relationships.

One of them is an affable architect, Cesare, who becomes closer to Momina (the older one of the group), and Clelia becomes attracted to Carlo, Cesare's assistant, which brings up some class issues as he's not, shall we say, as "well-off" as everybody else. Meanwhile, Rosetta tries to bring back some normalcy or just stability to her situation, but she falls for Lorenzo, a painter, who is already romantically involved with Nene, another of the girlfriends.

Their confrontation about the Lorenzo situation, between Nene and Rosetta, with Nene mostly talking, is one of the more startling things about the film. Again, a lot of this could be construed as soap-opera stuff: she sleeps with him, he sleeps with her, she's jealous of her, she's spiteful of her, so on and so on. But that one scene, where Nene tells Rosetta off, is powerful because it's not as over the top as one might expect.

It comes at a point in the film where there has already been some drama (again, the very wonderful beach scene, with its slight, subtle nod to the scenes at the rocky coast in L'Avventura), and it's a scene that gains its power from how simply Nene speaks about the affair and how she feels about it. It's moments like that, or when Rosetta walks with her lover on a street and they talk, that make it so worthwhile as drama. Antonioni casts the group very well, which helps, especially for Rosetta, who is played by Fischer as a fragile person but not so weak as to always be pushed around. And the male actors are surprising in their sensitivity to their roles.

It's is one of the director's finer films, and a good introduction to his work if not by way of the sort of existential malaise of a La Notte or Red Desert then to the underrated attention to characters and emotions Antonioni can have when he's most focused, and in classic black and white no less shot by the great Gianni Di Venanzo. It's like Lifetime for mature people, and lovers of 1950's-set Italian cinema (or, to put it another way, like a "chick-flick" version of Fellini's I Vittelloni).

Reviewed by MOscarbradley 8 / 10

That old ennui

Viewed today Michaelangelo Antonioni's "Le Amiche" feels like a dry-run for his great trilogy of alienation that began with "LAvventura". This movie isn't in the same class but it is still very fine. It's like Cukor's "The Women" minus the laughs as lonely, pragmatic Clelia, (an excellent Eleonora Rossi Drago), returns to her native Turin and falls in with a group of rich, bored and, in one case, suicidal women and equally bored and cynical men, the one exception being Carlo, (Ettore Manni), with whom she starts some kind of relationship.

If it's not quite as densely plotted as "L'Avventura" and if there are no set-pieces to equal those that were to come later in Antonioni's work it nevertheless displays a very cool intelligence that never panders to the clichés of this kind of female orientated picture; there are no hints of lesbianism and the friendships are fickle at best. Even as early as 1955 Antonioni was hooked on that old ennui. Not one of his masterpieces, perhaps, but an essential part of the Antonioni canon all the same.

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