It's easy to see how this was overlooked in a year that brought us the beginnings of both the French New Wave and Italian modernism, but while those films were making their stylistic innovations, 'Adua and Her Friends' was busy taking down masculinist, hypocritical Italian society from the vantage point of four (former) sex workers. Its final moments move from exhilarating to absolutely heartbreaking.
A wonderful film featuring a quartet of fantastic performances from Simone Signoret, Sandra Milo, Emmanuelle Riva and Gina Rovere as four former brothel workers attempting to run a restaurant only to find the prejudices of their former lives define them. Scripting is excellent as is the b&w cinematograpy of Armando Nannuzzi. Was not aware of this director previously but worthy of investigation.
Mad stylish film, simply shot BUT with that kinetic Italian camera we all love. Beautiful, jazzy soundtrack. An often funny, but somber, movie about four sex workers starting a restaurant and their corrupt landlord's attempt to press them back into sex work.
Adua And Her Friends is a bit of a surprise gem from classic Italian cinema, but perhaps that's because of my unfamiliarity with Pietrangli. The four main women perfectly blend comedic situations with a heartbreaking melancholy, and Simone Signoret and Emmanualle Riva are particularly stunning. Marcello Mastroianni never goes unappreciated.
It takes a while for this film to get going for me, especially with the same low-key jazz theme that kind of deadens the energy a bit. However, I love where this goes with the girls' painful interactions with men and their inability to escape their former lives. The cinematography is very well done and both Simone Signoret and Emmanuelle Riva are golden. This one was definitely a nice surprise.
How did I not know about this film? Social hypocrisy and early feminism hit the right notes in an honest plot about 4 ex-prostitutes fighting to go straight. Everybody knows it wasn't going to be easy, but the smart dialog and performances keep this buoyant. Simone Signoret at her most heart-breaking.
Heartbreaking. Signoret is superb, as are the other actresses. I actually found it refreshing to see Mastroianni play a less complex character for a change. It's not necessarily easy to pull off. But 'Adua And Her Friends' is definitely an undervalued gem. Once again, the embedded cruelties of social stigmas can only ever be temporarily assuaged by misleading moments of hope.