"Io La Conoscevo Bene" or "I Knew Her Well" in English translation is a somewhat different film from the rest made by Antonio Pietrangeli and one of his last before his premature death. The theme of loneliness and alienation is not new in cinema,but Pietrangeli takes it from a different angle: his heroine,the naive countryside girl Adriana,who dreams of a career as a star in Rome, is not an escapist or introvert;on the contrary, she tries her best to socialize and befriend people , but the results are most disappointing and frustrating - people just ignore her, use her, make fun of her,exploit her body and her good intentions.Nobody is taking her seriously.Is it our cruel modern world's trademark?Seems to be true.INDIFFERENCE also kills. The magnificent cast of the greatest of Italian stars , each of them playing very small episodes,give distinctive CHARACTERS, blood and flesh ,to their protagonists,though their screen life lasts no more than five minutes each. The soundtrack by Piero Piccioni,like the sound of a torn string in the middle of a tune, suggests a young life broken before it has blossomed. Stefania Sandrelli, still a TEENAGER(!!) ,performs in an amazingly mature and confident way.Though she had some experience of working with great directors before (Pietro Germi), her psychological portrayal of a silly girl mesmerized by the glitter of the big city is very deep and convincing. Of course, this film was the labour of love of Antonio Pitrangeli, a very experienced director, but somewhat underrated ( nobody would put him on a pedestal alongside Fellini or Visconti).This film, undoubtedly,would make film critics and the audience reconsider the hierarchy of the Italian cinema Olympus dwellers.
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