The Unknown

The Unknown

The Unknown

  When you think of the Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore, it is primarily a film that has characterized this mental image: Breit his second film, Cinema Paradiso / Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1989) was born in 1956 in Sicily world famous film maker with a punch. Tornatore won the Oscar for best foreign language film and is now considered one of the most talented directors in Europe. But the quick fame at the age of 33 years, aroused expectations which could not meet Tornatore. His later films like Allen’s fine / Stanno tutti bene (1990), The man who makes the stars / L’uomo delle stelle (1995) and The Red pianist / Novecento – La legenda del pianista sull’oceano (1998) and his last film Malena / Malena (2000) have been in his home cinema successes, but to the great international response from Cinema Paradiso / Nuovo Cinema Paradiso Tornatore was not able. With his new film The Unknown / La Sconosciuta Tornatore ventures after a long pause, step back onto the canvas. And once again he succeeds so – at least in Italy – a great success: last year the film was the Italian film awards ceremony in the main winners and won five of the coveted trophy and the audience award for “Best Film” at the European Film Prize 2007. The film also marks the return of a great Italian filmmaker on the international stage? The answer is yes – with some minor compromises.

The plot of the film: A young Ukrainian woman named Irina (Xenia Rappoport) is in a northern Italian town (the film will be shot this city is not specified more precisely, was in Trieste), rents an apartment that is much too expensive, and strives in the opposite house to work as a housekeeper. Quickly you realize that something is wrong with Irina, all too obvious is their interest in the family ADACH (Claudia Geriini and Pierfrancesco Favino) and their little daughter Tea (Clara Dossena), who live in the grand-looking apartment house in the typical style of Trieste. In addition, there is the huge sum of cash, which leads to the Ukraine, and they hid in their apartment. Initially recruited as a cleaner at the House of ADACH, Irina makes friends with the housekeeper, Gina (Piera degli Espositi), skeleton key concern for the family’s apartment and finally acknowledges the kind-hearted Gina out of the way by her girlfriend comes down the stairs and may take their position. Is this almost ethereal-looking woman with curly hair, a calculating killer, a cunning criminal? The suspicion is natural, but that hardly can believe it.

After some initial difficulties Irina manages to win the heart of the small tea and make themselves indispensable in the family. But the apparent good fortune is short lived, because on Irina’s past, weighs a heavy shadow, and will get them in the form of dark Muffa (hardly seen again in this role, Michele Placido, who, as Commissario Cattani in the television series But known to the Mafia ) was bound book. But Irina is ever determined to pursue its plans to the end, it is thus a spiral of violence and lies in motion, in which they find themselves entangled.

If this is actually very nice woman with many locks, whose face no one would know nothing of its terrible history, whose martyrdom is indicated as forced prostitutes in various flashbacks again? And what they want from the family and the small ADACH Tea? These are the questions that this pessimistic, to push for a second boring thriller. Fast one suspects, due to various small notes, which could connect the child and the mysterious young woman, what is the drive for the cunning and unscrupulous action Irina. That will prove very end when all the big fallacy is one certainly to the great plus points of the Unknown / La Sconosciuta, as is the excellent camera work and successful assembly, which contribute much to the harmonious atmosphere.

Repeatedly cited Tornatore other masters of cinema, such as in the dizzying view of a staircase (with lovely greetings from Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang). The director then, and when samples are typical of an economical especially for Hitchcock kind of storytelling, when he simultaneously by carefully chosen image sections showing two parallel actions. Another stylistic device are numerous, at first only hinted, then more detailed flashbacks that times are kept in the style of David Lynch and come along again in a strange, shimmering, almost kitschy-looking erotic, but thanks to the sophisticated transitions almost seamlessly into the elegant narrative flow Insert the film again and again and lay a false trail. In the few scenes of violence one feels to the master of Italian “giallo” as reminiscent Dario Argento and Mario Bava.

This Tornatore repeatedly changes the focus of his film, shifting the perspective of the social drama thriller about the exploited of society , be they prostitutes or domestic servants, then at the portrait of a young woman obsessed with drawing, clinging to the last straw that is left to her. To many critics and some viewers will be possibly too much of a good or well-intentioned, as well as concise Ennio Morricone’s music, which underscores the emotional impact of the film effectively and strengthened.

Is of course intensified dramatically compressed and Irina’s fate, and sometimes, especially at the end, one would have liked a little more restraint on the part of the script. Even so, the Unknown / La Sconosciuta is a very interesting thriller with a cheaper concrete social implications, reveals an entirely new and unfamiliar dark side of the filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore.

(Joachim Kurz)

Title: The Unknown Original Title: La Sconosciuta Country of production: Italy Year of production: 2006 Length: 118 (min) of material: Senator Film Verleih / highway

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