The Unknown Woman | Chicago Reader

The Unknown Woman

Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso), this 2006 Italian feature is both a stylish thriller in the Hitchcock manner (though much racier) and a melodrama recalling Douglas Sirk. The heroine (Kseniya Rappoport), a Ukrainian national struggling to keep her Italian work permit, sorely tests one's sympathy; hoping to become a nanny in the household of a wealthy jeweler (Michele Placido), she conceals her past as an S-M prostitute and eventually resorts to theft and violence. The melodrama form allows Tornatore to examine social issues such as human trafficking and black-market babies with a yarn that, for all its sentiment, is never less than gripping. In Italian and Russian with subtitles. 116 min.

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