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The Unknown Woman (2006)

Ksenia Rappoport , Pierfrancesco Favino , Giuseppe Tornatore  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ksenia Rappoport, Pierfrancesco Favino, Claudia Gerini, Michele Placido
  • Directors: Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026IQTQS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,203 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Unknown Woman" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Irena (Xenia Rappoport) is a mysterious woman with a secret who works her way into the lives of an affluent young family. She stops at nothing to become the couple's trusted maid and beloved nanny to their fragile young daughter. But deep cracks underneath Irena's dedication soon become apparent as her horrific past and chilling obsession are revealed in this dark, sensual thriller.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything together just right - highly recommend July 24, 2009
Format:DVD
From a director who has made some wonderful films, from one of the best composers there ever has been, and from an actress that gave a performance of a lifetime comes this incredible piece of work that I cannot recommend enough.

As far as acting, risks and film style - this should have won that year but at least it got submitted for the Academy (wrongly overlooked - probably due to content). A suspenseful tale that follows the lead woman through flashbacks and present time, with an editing style that makes the film a stand-out in storytelling. Xenia Rappaport convinced me beyond any doubt of her skill level, and even when you watch the supplemental documentary, she exudes a certain professionalism that warrants attention. A strong R rating of a film about retribution, loss, prostitution in the worst way, and an ending I did not see coming (considering all that had happened).

The DVD quality is excellent, the sound mixed perfectly for what was being asked, and the supplemental feature contains just the right amount of background material and non-cheesy interviews. Hope this does not get overlooked again.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult, dark film. Xenia Rappoport is amazing. September 9, 2008
Format:DVD
A little hard to follow and a little hard to swallow, this film by the director of Nuovo Cinema Paradiso is gritty and loose. A dark controlled chaos in skilled hands, it feels like an army of films rushing at you all at once. It's a bit overwhelming until the grabs you, sucks you in and won't let you go performance of Xenia Rappoport kicks in. She's a magnet in the middle of a mysterious mayhem. It's too bad that the style and substance of the film will prevent it from ever becoming popular because her portrayal of suffering and sheer determination is one for the history books. The woman's got chops. She moves like an insect through the undergrowth of her seedy milieu with an androgynous, unkempt beauty that's both tempting and invisible. She's able to shift her portrayal from one emotion to another, and then another, without moving a muscle in her face--a skill few actors possess. It's her story and we follow her through it not knowing exactly what she's after or what she will do with it when she seems to have it in her grasp. That's the unknown part and Rappoport plays the mystery for all it's worth. She works the complex narrative inside her head and lets the revelations drip out slowly, uncontrollably.

Director Giuseppe Tornatore says this film is about a woman reclaiming her power as a woman (there's a great big serving of motherhood with that) after it has been stripped from her from every angle imaginable. Rappoport's character is the victim of a human slave trade that uses immigrant Eastern European women to make babies for the upper-class. She's gotten out of it, but with a lot of baggage.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giuseppe Tornatore is a genius, this movie is a gem July 21, 2009
By Alexyos
Format:DVD
Giuseppe Tornatore is a genius, this movie is a gem. Buy it and keep it in your collection. Superb acting, incredible story of human love and desperation. I cannot believe this movie did not win any Oscars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tale of an Indomitable Woman August 29, 2010
Format:DVD
Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore both wrote (with Massimo De Rita) and directed this intensely powerful film about the resilience of the human spirit. It is a triumphant masterpiece of a film that somehow has escaped the eyes of the audiences here in this country. With this DVD it should find a legion of fine film aficionados for 'La Sconosciuta'/'The Unknown Woman'/'The Other Woman' as it is variable named.

In a series of flashbacks and flash forwards the story reveals the history of a Ukrainian girl Irena (a brilliant tour de force of acting by Russian born actress known variably as Kensiya/Ksenia/Xenia Rappoport) who lives in a small village, has a handsome construction worker lover, but following a need for a better life of wealth and fame, becomes involved with the pimp Muffa (Michele Placido) who uses her popularity as a prostitute to fill his coffers while sadistically binding and beating her into submission as a breeder of babies for the black market. Irena finally attacks Muffa, thinking she has killed him, escapes and moves to Velarchi, Italy where she rents a small apartment across the street from wealthy couple Donato (Pierfrancesco Favino) and Valeria (Claudia Gerini) Adacher who are gold dealers and their daughter Tea (Clara Dossena) who apparently is suffering from a neurological disorder that causes her parents to be overprotective of her lack of ability to cope with aggression. First working as a servant and house cleaner Irena pleads with her employer to find her a better job, and that job just happens to be a new nanny for the Adachers.
Irena gradually ingratiates herself in to the family, earning the trust and respect of the parents and especially that of Tea.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As a Patricia Highsmith Book June 20, 2010
Format:DVD
What an amazing film.

It reminds me of Patricia Highsmith books: slow-paced and confusing at first, developing little by little into a masterpiece that depicts how twisted and sick mankind can be. Kseniya Rappoport arrives in Trieste to do what it takes to find and get back what's been taken away from her. Some of her acts are questionable, and you will have trouble justifying her or condemning her.

If you liked Giuseppe Tornatore's "A Pure Formality", starring Gerard Depardieu & Roman Polanski, you will definitely like this one. While this is a Giuseppe Tornatore movie, "The Unknown Woman" has nothing to do with his most famous works "Malèna", "Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" and "The Star Maker", which deal with social aspects of culture in Southern Italy, specially Sicily.

Kseniya Rappoport also stars in the excellent Italian thriller "La Doppia Ora" (The Double Hour) by Giuseppe Capotondi.

This is one of the best movies I've ever watched.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Italian film
This is the best film out of Italy since the 1960's. I bought this DVD for my next door neighbor who is Italian.
Published 9 months ago by Gary Rulapaugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Italian treasure!
Spooky, curious movie from the director of Cinema Paradiso.
Hitchcockian twists and turns keep you wondering where
the movie is going. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Leo Catalano
4.0 out of 5 stars The Plot Thickens
While I have this from my library I must watch it again. The acting, cinematography and musical score made this movie a thrill to watch. Read more
Published on July 31, 2012 by W. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Pleasant Surprise
Skillfully acted and directed which kept the whole story throughly enjoyable.Ksenia Rappoport is a bona fide great newcomer who should have a long a sucessful career
Published on February 25, 2012 by mother superior
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning and disturbing movie
A must have, but not for the faint of heart. This story depicts with grim candor the horrors having taken place-especially to women-during the organized mass murder in the Balkans.
Published on November 3, 2011 by Nicholas L. Buckeridge
4.0 out of 5 stars great movie
It was a twisted plot, complex characters and a thriller.
The movie unfold slowly and it has a semi good ending. A must watch.
Published on September 17, 2011 by An H. Phan
4.0 out of 5 stars A Movie That Respects Its' Audience
THE UNKNOWN WOMAN is definitely not an American film--it assumes intelligence & concentration on the part of the viewer. Read more
Published on May 15, 2011 by JE Farrow
3.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy, complex, violent, strange, and just way too much going on for...
If there is one thing to say about this movie, it is fast paced, filled with many many different scenes, angles, flashbacks, settings, characters, and lord, never a dull moment. Read more
Published on July 16, 2010 by  RIZZO 
2.0 out of 5 stars Dark, overdone and distasteful ***** SPOILERS in this review *****
There is no way to describe this movie without spoilers. It's the story of a woman ********SPOILERS COMING*********

beaten, raped, forced into sexual slavery,... Read more
Published on June 2, 2010 by Verita
4.0 out of 5 stars Hardcore suspense!
Italian language movie with subtitles. This movie is in the genre of Alfred Hitchcock movies. Suspense and suprises throughout the movie. Read more
Published on May 9, 2010 by Nicholas Kurinzi
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