The unknown woman
The unknown woman
2006 Thriller 118 mins
Italian with English subtitles
A sprawling Italian city of our times: we come to know the ‘unknown woman’, Irena. She arrived in Italy from the Ukraine many years before and today lives amidst ghosts of her past and her search for the present: two planes of time that interweave, superimpose, and make up an intriguing puzzle in a taut high-tension narrative.
Little by little the story of Irene unfolds. The girl had fled Eastern Europe, as did so many young women at the time. After surviving a cruel and dramatic voyage, she easily fell prey to ruthless unscrupulous men. She was subjected to unspeakable brutalities and humiliations, experienced in flashback, the kind that permanently scar. Only one beautiful memory remains for Irena; a melancholic, heartrending lost love.
Today Irena appears to us as a mysterious figure, yet a woman who still exerts a fascinating appeal. Deep down, despite these tragic events, her character has remained intact. Her natural pride and fierce rebellious power remain undaunted. She solicits the help of the doorman of an apartment building to find work as a cleaning lady there. The man, not at all disinterested, helps her get a job in the building, which is right across the street from where she has decided to live. From her window she spies intently upon the building across the street and in time gains access to the apartment and the inhabitant who is the object of her obsessive quest.
Like a heavy fog that finally lifts, a succession of real and supposed truths emerge, offering revelation and disavowal within hypothetical realities.
The latest film from Giuseppe Tornatore, director of ‘Cinema Paradiso’.
“Moved the audience to tears and applause. Critics enchanted by a ‘splendidly directed film’. Xenia Rappoport ‘a true revelation’.” La Repubblica.
“It is a mystery film without murderers, victims or investigators. And a film about love.” Giuseppe Tornatore, director
2007 European Film awards: Winner best film; Italian nomination to 2008 Oscars; Winner 2007 David di Donatello: Best film, best director, best actress plus 2 more.
Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
Cast: Michele Placido, Claudia Gerini, Margherita Buy, Alessandro Haber, Piera Degli Esposti, Kseniya (Xenia) Rappoport, Pier Francesco Favino