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Le amiche [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1955]

Eleonora Rossi-Drago , Valentina Cortese , Michelangelo Antonioni    Parental Guidance   Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £8.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Le amiche [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1955] + La signora senza camelie [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1953] + City Girl - Dual Format (Blu-ray+DVD) [Masters of Cinema] [1930]
Price For All Three: £24.93

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Product details

  • Actors: Eleonora Rossi-Drago, Valentina Cortese
  • Directors: Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Mar 2011
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004K0DY5O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,058 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

A key film of Antonioni's middle-period, Le amiche [The Girlfriends] finds the Italian master expanding his palette in the realm of traditional narrative cinema by way of his powerhouse direction of an ensemble cast, while entrenching his devotion to expressing the emotional makeup of the modern woman. Clelia (Eleonora Rossi-Drago) embarks from Rome to set up a fashion-salon in Torino. Shortly after arrival, she finds herself caught up in the (melo)dramas of a bourgeoise circle of acquaintances (including the iconic Valentina Cortese), and their attendant attempts at suicide, their class prejudices, and the romantic alliances that threaten to transform the social clique into an emotional tar-pit. Le amiche represents the epitome of Antonioni's '50s period, and although it lays the groundwork for such '60s breakthroughs as L'avventura and La notte, it proves itself no less brilliant. SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDING: * Beautiful new transfer of the film in its recent restoration by Cineteca di Bologna, L'Immagine Ritrovata, and Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation, in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, and presented in a 1080p AVC encode on the Blu-ray * A new and exclusive video introduction to the film with critic and teacher Gabe Klinger * A new and exclusive video featuring Gabe Klinger discussing the arc of Antonioni's entire career * Optional English subtitles * A lengthy booklet containing newly translated critical pieces about the film, excerpts of interviews with Antonioni, and more!


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early, different Antonioni 30 Jan 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Lighter (at times), more emotionally complex, yet symbolically simpler than later films by Antonioni. This reminded me more of Fellini, Woody Allen, and (in the lighter, early moments) even Almodovar.

It goes without saying that the film is great looking (could Antonioni frame a bad shot?). And it has lots of plot, surprising from a filmmaker who later ran from traditional plot and story. Lovers change hands, lives rise and fall among five female friends (artists, clothing designers, etc).

This is labeled a masterpiece by some, but to me it felt a bit too soapy, and some of the characters and performances a bit one note or on-the-nose to raise it to quite that level. I was never bored, and the images were thrilling, but I didn't find myself caring deeply on a conventional level, nor drawn in on a more intellectual, poetic level as the later Antonioni films do. But all that said, I'm still glad I saw it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fifties "feminist" masterpiece 28 Mar 2009
Format:DVD
It is understandable but somewhat unfair that Antonioni is best known for his more overtly "modernist" films from "L'avventura" (1959) onwards: his earlier films are impressive too. "Le Amiche" (The Girl Friends, 1955) is one of his greatest achievements, an involving, indeed moving, depiction of the relationships between a group of women in fifties Turin, and the various men in their lives. The director uses staging in depth and subtle camera movements with tremendous assurance and sensitivity: the frequent shots of several characters in one frame never seem cluttered, the positioning of the actors in relation to each other, and their individual behavioural mannerisms, become meaningfully expressive of the complexities of their liaisons; and the mobile imagery is realised with meticulous fluency and elegance that never seem affected. The "feminist" aspect of the film is remarkable too: Antonioni's view of his heroines is not uncritical, but he is sympathetic to their concerns, their problems, their disappointments. By contrast, most of the men are self-centred and manipulative. When at the end career-girl Clelia (the most likeable of the women) returns to her job in Rome rather than marry Carlo (the least dislikeable of the men) it is sad, but not tragic! Tragedy is present in the film in the character of Rosetta, whose suicide attempt in an adjoining hotel room is the catalyst for Clelia to meet and become friends with the other women. Clelia offers Rosetta more substantial support and sympathy than the rest, but to little avail - Rosetta cannot escape her doomed love for Lorenzo the artist. He is flattered by the attention, especially in the light of the ego-bruising realisation that his wife Nene is achieving greater success than him in the world of art. He enters into an affair with Rosetta but is not prepared to leave Nene, so ... well, get the DVD and find out for yourself what happens!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 20 July 2011
Format:Blu-ray
This film proves that L'Avventura was no fluke.

This is a side to Antonioni that many viewers will be unfamiliar with. On the surface, this film might seem like a light melodrama, but the tension that envelops each scene contrasts with the beautiful soundtrack wonderfully. Sure it spells out in capital letters the ideas that L'Avventura and L'Eclisse were able to show in image, nevertheless this film is almost as accomplished as those two monuments. Valentina Cortese is stunning. There's a train scene. What more could you want???
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4.0 out of 5 stars A camp drama... 15 April 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Good film... Though a bit camp! Don't understand why it's on Blu ray as the DVD is of the same quality. So it's not grain free or picture perfect... Just an old negative transferred to digital. If you can get it on DVD cheaper... I'd do that. Good film though... Great atmosphere.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FIlm=4.5 Stars/ DVD=3 Stars 18 Dec 2001
By mackjay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
For those approaching it in 'historical reverse', that is AFTER knowing the 'Trilogy' ("L'Avventura" "La Notte" "L'Eclisse") and "Il Deserto Rosso", "Le Amiche" is striking in the way it prefigures nearly all the themes the director would continue to explore in his somewhat more daring works of the 1960s. In the character of Clelia (played by the beautiful Eleonora Rossi Drago) can be seen the ancestor of Monica Vitti's Claudia in "L'Avventura": she is an outsider, curious and compassionate, who is coming to terms with her own sense of self. Gabriele Ferzetti plays Lorenzo, a frustrated artist, much like his lost architect in the same famous film. And in Rosetta (Madeleine Fisher) is prefigured the enigmatic Anna go 'goes missing' on the immortal volcanic island. Yvonne Furneaux's Momina embodies the superficial leisure class characters with whom Antonioni will continue to populate his next three or four films. And Nene (Valentina Cortese) acts out the director's great theme of forgiveness.
But it is not just in the characters that "Le Amiche" points toward the future. There are many scenes of wandering, along city streets, or beaches. Casual sexuality it presented not for its sensual or aesthetic appeal, but as an empty attempt to connect. And the great chasm of miscommunication between men and women is on full view. Yet, even in 1955 the director knows that all is not black and white. Characters of the same gender don't really understand one another either. The film is posing a difficult question: is it possible to 'be yourself' and still need others? Clelia finds a difficult answer, while Nene seems to find its mirror image.
And speaking of mirrors, the famous Antonioni 'doubling' is here in germ form as well. In the very opening shot, Clelia looks into the hotel bathroom mirror while drawing her bath: she is about to find her self divided in her feelings about her soon-to-be new friends and her old home town of Torino. Later, she regards her reflection in a shop window mirror before deciding to pursue a romance with the handsome Carlo (Ettore Manni).
Possibly most interesting of all is Rosetta, who, in attempting suicide, is trying to 'disappear'. The film makes it more than clear that this character has no real sense of self: she is dependent upon the affections of a man and the perceived loyalty of her mostly vacant friendships. There is a telling scene with Lorenzo in which she feeds off his flattery. And, in a beautifully acted scene aboard a train, Clelia tries to help her understand the importance of connection to others, never realizing how unstable Rosetta truly is.
Antonioni would in his next feature, "Il Grido", begin to streamline his technique. "Le Amiche" has far more characters than he would later prefer, and they talk constantly. There are virtually none of the characteristic, nearly silent sequences that will inform his later works. Nor does landscape play as commanding a role it will assume in the 1960s. While the two main narrative threads of "Le Amiche" (Clelia and Rosetta/Lorenzo/Nene) will be reduced to one for nearly all his remaining films.
Complex, dramatic, and visually seductive, "Le Amiche" is not just a fine early work by Antonioni, it deserves a place beside his more famous achievements.
The DVD issue of "Le Amiche" is up to the best of Image Entertainment in terms of quality of the sharp and clean transfer. There are no extras to speak of, but it well worth having such a fascinating film in the new format.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Antonioni's first significant film 13 Sep 2001
By Jeremy Heilman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Le Amiche was made in 1955, and was the first significant film from Michaelangelo Antonioni. This film follows a Roman woman named Clelia who, in an effort to improve her life, moves from the city to work at a small shop. She finds the lives of the small town is much less pleasant than she suspected. The women that she befriends are allowed to show a surprising range of emotions, especially for a film made in the fifties. The film seems to suggest that you cannot have a sense of self if you rely upon others. It definitely feels like an Antonioni film, even if it's more talky than his average work. The plot never really feels melodramatic, even though the events could easily make it feel that way. I would reccomend the film highly.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cool Melodrama 20 Oct 2006
By R. Chapman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Extremely impressive, fully realised 50s Antonioni. Less sparse than his later work but superb script, direction and acting from ensemble cast. Seen entirely from the female perspective, adult, subtle, complex, modern. As ever with Antonioni, a wonderful use of space and location. The mid-fifties fashions are attractive adding another layer to the visual pleasures. Extremely entertaining, warm, human, approachable, not nearly as cold, "difficult" and distancing as his later work and reputation. Not unlike Ophuls in some ways. A cool melodrama. (Why only four stars? Four is good for me. Be sparing with your hyperbole or what's left for the genuine masterpieces?)
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated gem 28 Jun 2005
By Doug Mackey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Although it may not be considered "classic" Antonioni as much as his Sixties films, the interplay of the four or five lead actresses in Le Amiche is fascinating to watch, particularly Eleonora Rossi Drago as Clelia, who exudes a very grounded inner radiance. She is often more in the observer role to other people's dramas, yet finally the film is about her and her own quiet achievement of full independence. I find her a satisfying precursor of the Monica Vitti character in Antonioni's mature films. Le Amiche is atypical Antonioni because it's full of dialogue and crowded with characters, as opposed to spare and formalistic, but it's none the worse for that. I suspect this film has been somewhat underrated as it predates the full-blown development of the director's characteristic style. I find it compulsively watchable; it's definitely worth owning.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early, different Antonioni 30 Jan 2011
By K. Gordon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Lighter (at times), more emotionally complex, yet symbolically simpler than later films by Antonioni. This reminded me more of Fellini, Woody Allen, and (in the lighter, early moments) even Almodovar.

It goes without saying that the film is great looking (could Antonioni frame a bad shot?). And it has lots of plot, surprising from a filmmaker who later ran from traditional plot and story. Lovers change hands, lives rise and fall among five female friends (artists, clothing designers, etc).

This is labeled a masterpiece by some, but to me it felt a bit too soapy, and some of the characters and performances a bit one note or on-the-nose to raise it to quite that level. I was never bored, and the images were thrilling, but I didn't find myself caring deeply on a conventional level, nor drawn in on a more intellectual, poetic level as the later Antonioni films do. But all that said, I'm still glad I saw it.
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