The Unknown Woman (DVD)
DIRECTED BY - Giuseppe Tornatore
IndiePix Price: $11.95
RUNTIME - 120 minutes
RATING - Not Rated
YEAR - 2006
Russian actress Xenia Rappoport gives a rich, complex lead performance in Giuseppe Tornatore's Italian thriller, THE UNKNOWN WOMAN (LA SCONOSCIUTA). Rappoport stars as Irena, a deeply troubled Ukrainian woman who has just arrived in Italy. She is desperate to get a job working in a specific building, mopping floors and doing whatever is necessary, even giving significant parts of her payment to the super (Alessandro Haber) she convinces to hire her. After causing Gina (Piera Degli Esposti) to have a terrible accident, Irena takes over Gina's job, working as a nanny for Thea (Clara Dossena) and her parents, Valeria (Claudia Gerini) and Donato (Pierfrancesco Favino). While growing very close with the young child, Irena suffers from horrible flashbacks and bad memories in which she is a blonde involved in some kind of mysterious sex trade headed by a man called Mold (Michele Placido). Irena brutally teaches Thea how to fight back when she's picked on at school, the way Irena was unable to fight back for so long against Mold, but things threaten to implode when Valeria starts becoming suspicious of Irena's motives.
"[S]umptuously photographed in noirish shades and slathered in spine-tingling music by Ennio Morricone, it twists every which way to sustain suspense..."
- Stephen Holden, New York Times
"[Tornatore] transcends the lurid and the coincidental with range, depth and insight, and a bold, confident, suspenseful style, to create a fable of love and redemption."
- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times