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The Unknown Woman

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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(Jul 21, 2009)
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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.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ksenia Rappoport, Pierfrancesco Favino, Claudia Gerini, Michele Placido
  • Directors: Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0026IQTQS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,023 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Unknown Woman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: DVD
Not hard to follow at all, everything fits perfectly, every scene, every flashback, Tornatore is a great director and the music of Ennio Morricone keeps us on the edge of our seats on every scene as the story unveils. It's a very good movie, I highly recommend it. The actres that portrays Irena is excellent, very powerful and the little girl it's adorable. It's been a long time sice I've seen a well done film like this one.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Italian language movie with subtitles. This movie is in the genre of Alfred Hitchcock movies. Suspense and suprises throughout the movie. There are a lot of nude and sexually explicit scenes so may not be suitable for children, but definetly a movie to watch if you like suspense.
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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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