Astonished to discover a chatty Antonioni only to find it cohesive with his other works along almost Cioranesque views that furibund productive inebriety hides the obsessive fear to face oneself. Producing words, art, business plans, compulsive flirt to hush resonant emptiness beneath. But every thorough analysis is a profanation and lifelessness' doorstep, (self-)knowledge comes at a bitter price, accepted illusions
I think far too much is made of Antonioni's supposed break w/ neorealism. Le amiche, particularly, seem like a movie very much engaged in a dialogue w/ Rossellini and early Visconti. Movies primarily focusing on the upper classes cannot rightfully be considered films about class? Absurd. What distinguishes Antonioni, even early on: the idea of choreography married to mise-en-scène, and eerily effective dispassion.
“You’re going to see a miracle tonight.”
“What kind of miracle?”
“We’re going to have a good time.”
Sweeter, more wistful, and much more plotful than Antonioni's later, better-known ice-capades, Le Amiche and its hearts in hibernation are no less desperate, equivocal or doomed.
Cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo. It begins to seem a typical Italian comedy of the genre "Telefoni Bianchi", but as long as the dramatic density goes deeper and the various paths of the protagonists are detaching one from another, Antonioni builds a formalist découpage that registers perfectly their "mal de vivre "and "noia ". The next film would be obviously a "grido".
Le Amiche has become my favorite Antonioni. Each character moves with easy fluidity while simultaneously contrasting their counterpart. I loved the relationship between Clelia and the assistant. How the differences of two people that are just not ever meant to be together is studied is pure and realistic, and yet, not without great artistic expression. The beach scene is beauty. Lean and elegant. Highly recommended.