DVD Review: Antonioni’s Le Amiche is an early gem that scarcely resembles his later ones

When a director settles on a unique vision of the world and then sticks to it forever after, early movies that don’t reflect that vision sometimes wind up forgotten or undervalued. Too Late Blues, starring Bobby Darin as a jazz musician, ranks with John Cassavetes’ best work; it rarely gets mentioned, though, because it doesn’t fit what we now think of as the Cassavetes template. Likewise, discussions of Bresson rarely focus on the superb Les Dames Du Bois De Boulogne, an early film he shot using professional actors rather than the blank “models” he’d later favor. To their ever vigilant credit, Criterion released Dames on DVD (though they have yet to upgrade it to Blu-ray), and next week, in a similarly perspicacious move, they’re adding Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1955 feature Le Amiche to the collection, even though Antonioni doesn’t truly become “Antonioni” until L’Avventura …

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