I Knew Her Well

Mar 25 - Mar 28, 2016

(Antonio Pietrangeli, Italy, 1965, DCP, 115 min)

New digital restoration!

An under appreciated masterpiece from the era of Italian Neorealism, I Knew Her Well is a must-see for the exquisite leading performance of Stefania Sandrelli. The film is an intimate portrait of her character: a beautiful and innocent would-be starlet. From the provinces to Rome she works the D-Circuit of fame, surrounded by press-agents and pimps, washouts and cads. In this heady swirl of good and (mostly) evil, she is neither incriminated nor innocent. She is along for the ride, and deeply uncertain of her destination. Her fears are carefully restrained, never verbalized, and never glimpsed but in a fleeting hesitation or a knitting of plucked eyebrows.

This angst imprisons us in a beautiful world: the exuberant glamor of Rome in the 1950s. The suits, the dresses, the effortless style. From bedroom to bedroom, party to party, Sandrelli searches for something. We follow her through absurd acting lessons, humiliating gigs and bit parts. Her hair is regularly assaulted by bizarre salon technologies. Through all this torture, she is happy to be liked, happy to make love. It’s a sisyphean circling, a faux-reality of glamour and sleaze that’s occasionally violated by bitter truths: death, greed, failure. And in these moments, with a rare confidence, the script falls silent, letting Sandrelli’s exceptional performance illustrate the tension between this world we live in, and the one we wish for.


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