The Unknown Woman (2006)

GIUSEPPE TORNATORE

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  La Sconosciuta

Alternate title:  The Unknown

Italy/France, 2006.  , Manigolda Film, Sky, Cinecittá Studios, Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission, Umbria Film Commission.  Story and Screenplay by Giuseppe Tornatore, Collaboration with . Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

A Ukrainian woman shows up in a Roman apartment building to work as a house cleaner, then makes her way into the home of a highly successful jeweler and her husband and becomes nanny to their child. As the film progresses, she develops an attachment to the little girl that goes beyond friendship or feminine instinct. Flashbacks intermittently appear, describing her previous life as an abused prostitute to a horrific pimp who left her barely alive before she changed paths, and little by little we put the pieces together. This dark, soap-operatic drama, Italy’s most critically successful film of its year, has a story that hooks you in completely from the beginning; the plot often delves too much into showy melodrama, but the characters and excellent performances do a number on you enough to keep you in your seat until it is over. Director Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) tantalizes you with enough hints and prods to make you desperate to find out the key to the actual plot, which unfolds very naturally. Look for cameos by the wonderful  and the legendary .

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