Thursday, April 11, 2013

Michelangelo Antonioni: Le amiche / The Girlfriends

Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche (1955) plays like a compressed black and white season of Sex and the City -- if a character like Charlotte was easily defeated and cyclically suicidal. Here we see the changing opportunities for women in post-World War Two Italy, somewhat porous socioeconomic class structure, men adrift. Though not really a comedy, there are in Le amiche pithy quips about friends and frenemies, artists and industrialists, builders and architects, fashions and fashion designers, married couples and single couples, singletons, married paramours, and everything in between. In this, Le amiche feels very contemporary. Certainly Italians and classic style go hand in hand -- most of these folks would still seem contemporary even in the early 21st century.

Based on Tra donna sole / Women on their Own, a 1949 novella by Cesare Pavese, Le amiche retains a certain amount of gravitas about life choices in the face of social and personal change.

To me, the real star of Le amiche is Yvonne Furneaux as Momina de Stefani. Though her character often comes off as flippant and even casually cruel, Furneaux (on far right above) pretty much jumps off the screen with charisma. That said, the entire ensemble cast is strong. Even as a cultural snapshot, another fascinating film by Antonioni.

Today's Rune: Journey.    


Charles Gramlich said...

One of these days I will set down to watch some foreign films. I will contact you for some guidelines. I know nothing of them.

jodi said...

Erik-I know I would love this one!