Eleonora Rossi Drago, Valentina Cortese, Yvonne Fourneaux, Franco Fabrizi,
Le amiche follows the lives of four aimless young women as observed by a newcomer, Clelia, who has returned to her native Turin to open a fashion salon. She throws in with the group after one, Rosetta, succumbs to the social vacuum and attempts suicide in the hotel room next to hers. As in The Passenger, years later, this next-door near-death occasions a journey into her own identity for Clelia, as it does for others, including the artist Lorenzo and his wife Nene. The sorry girl functions as a Rosetta stone. Antonioni enriches the story, based on a Pavese novella, with marvelous choreography of movement in the comings and goings, meetings and mismatches of its characters; and with subtle social architecture, expressed in objects and surfaces for reflection. Thus his early melodrama is reminiscent of a master of the form (himself a closet modernist), Mikio Naruse. For BAMPFA audiences, this is not faint praise.