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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early, different Antonioni, 30 Jan 2011
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fifties "feminist" masterpiece, 28 Mar 2009
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
This review is from: Le amiche [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1955] (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful restauration of a precursor work, 23 Sep 2014
By 
medicus (Genf, Schweiz) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Le amiche [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1955] (Blu-ray)
This melodramatic film is closer to the theatre than other Antonioni films, with a lot of dialogue and an uncaracteristic fast pace. The acting is good but the dubbing (by the actors themselves) and the uniform sound quality in different spaces prevent our adhesion to the characters to some extent. This stems also from the shortness of the scenes.The characters feel like very vivid sketches rather than the deeply moving portraits carried by Monica Vitti in the later films (or Lucia Bose in "la signora senza camelie").The themes are typical of Antonioni's preocupations: the impossibility of lasting love, the difficulties of friendship and communication. Architectures are less prominent than in other films, although the shots are often quite original. The quality of the restauration in the BFI version of the film is close to perfection. It is certainly not a masterpiece, but you end up loving it if you are able to put it in the wider frame of the work of a master.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A camp drama..., 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Le amiche [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1955] (Blu-ray)
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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Le amiche [Masters of Cinema] [Dual Format - Blu-ray & DVD] [1955]
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