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A Ukrainian woman named Irena calculatedly insinuates herself into the lives of a young, affluent Italian family. Stopping at nothing to become the couple's trusted maid and the beloved nanny to their fragile young daughter, Irena risks everything in her quest to uncover the truth about the family. Like an intricately constructed jigsaw puzzle, The Unknown Woman reveals piece by piece the enigma of Irena's past. Written by
The film received a small release in Los Angeles in late 2007 in order to qualify for the 80th Annual Academy Awards (it was eligible in all categories, including Best Foreign Language Film). However it didn't get a wide US release until the following year. See more »
Finally an Italian film with an international taste! No married couples going through a difficult period, no stupid pointed remarks to our painful ruling class.
The universe in which "The Unknown" takes place is, first, the shadow world of those sordid, sinister and rude men, who aren't worthy to be called human beings, who bait young girls from the East-European countries with the false promise of a good work in Italy, as waitresses, housemaids, even models. The girls' families pays a lot of money out for their daughters' travel toward the affluence, but, when the girls come to Italy, they soon find out they will never be cover beauties or salaried people: they are forced to prostitute themselves until they reach, with their work, the amount their families paid. Practically, they become slaves, continuously exposed to rapes, strokes, blackmails.
Then, "The Unknown" moves into the comfortable world of a common North Italy town. An incredibly harsh but marvelous film. At the end, I wondered: how many stories like this happen around us and we just aren't conscious.
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