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!