THE UNKNOWN WOMAN (LA SCONOSCIUTA)
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.