An extraordinary portrait of women by one of the fathers of modern cinema
Written by the director together with Suso Cecchi d’Amico and Alba de Céspedes, and based on a novel by Cesare Pavese, the film shows the intrigues and absurdities of a world gone adrift, and the first signs of the Made in Italy style that are soon to spread all over the world
Michelangelo Antonioni’s third film is based on the short novel Tre donne sole (Among Women Only) by Cesare Pavese (screenplay by Suso Cecchi d’Amico and Alba de Céspedes). It showcases the director’s already fully-formed stylistic and thematic modernity, which will see him become one of the world’s great cinema auteurs. In a contemporary review, writer Italo Calvino perfectly summed up the film’s strong points: the attentive observation of mannerisms, the bitter reporter-like analysis of the bourgeois, the raw portrait of a generation full of bitterness and solitude, in the urban landscape of a gloomy, grey Turin and among fashion boutiques that show the first steps of the Made in Italy style that will become so successful around the world. Every aspect of real life begins to fall apart in this analysis of modernity, with a clarity and foresight that continue to astonish. This is probably the best film to admire Antonioni’s ability to direct actors, turning them into interpreters of his personal vision: the large cast, especially the women, is simply extraordinary.
In a gloomy and grey Turin, the story follows the intertwined lives of four women, their difficult love affairs, marital infidelities, ennui, work ambitions, fights, vain desires of escape, loneliness and suicidal tendencies.