Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for The Unknown Woman


ITALY, 2006
Running Length: 125 minutes
Cast: Xenia Rappoport, Michele Placido, Claudia Gerini, Margherita Buy,  Alessandro Haber, Piera Degli Esposti
Director:  Giuseppe Tornatore
Screenplay: Giuseppe Tornatore & Massimo De Rita
Cinematography: Fabio Zamarion

Definitely the best film to have been screened in the 2008 Italian Film Festival, and winner of a swag of Italian Oscars, La Sconoscuita is a very different film from the director who brought us the whimsical Cinema Paradiso.  In a sprawling Italian city we meet Irena who has fled from Eastern Europe.  The journey has been arduous, often painful and humiliating.  Irena has been scarred by her experiences but she holds fast to her one happy memory (of a lost love) and throws herself into finding a new life.

She manages to convince a doorman to help her find work as a cleaner in the apartment building across from where she has chosen to live.  She has become obsessed with one of the building’s occupants and spends hours spying from her own window.  Eventually gaining access to the object of her obsession, the truth about Irena’s fascination with the Adacher family becomes apparent and her past catches up with her.

There are so many layers of secrets in this film that to write anything more would be to give them away. Owing much to both Hitchcock and Kubrick, this is a fascinating, frightening and superbly crafted thriller that will leave you clutching the edge of your seat.


  1. Sounds comparable to a couple of movies I've seen.

  2. Sounds like you need to be patient to unravel all the secrets in this movie. I think it's cool that someone's name is Xenia. :)

  3. Sounds like a really interesting movie! I should write it up on my list.

  4. That last part sounds especially interesting.

  5. Ooh, I really want to see this one. I hope I can find it somewhere.

  6. I really love that you're introducing all of us to foreign films and indie films, and not sticking to Hollywood stuff.It makes your entries something I look forward to :)