The Unknown Woman

Synopsis: 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.
Director(s): Giuseppe Tornatore
Production: Outsider Pictures
  20 wins & 26 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
118 min

Turn around.

Okay, out.

Turn around.

Giorgia stays,

Samantha and her friend can go.


Turn around, slowly.

She'll do fine.

Thank you, dear, you can go.

This is vacant and furnished.

It was remodeled recently...

...but costs double the other,

and two months more advance.

Condominium costs are triple.

Best you know now,

when trucks pass, the place rattles.

You should take the other.

I'll take this.

May I help you?

- Good morning.

- Hi, Matteo.

Hello. Need maid?

- Where are you from?

- Ukraine.

- We don't need anyone.

- Ah.

- If you hear anything...

- Stop now and then and we'll see.

Many thanks.


What can you do?


clean, cook, wash, doing...

- Doing ironing.

- Are you ill? Hungry?

No, just need work.

- If you help me, I'll give 20%.

- Who do you take me for?

Better, 30, alright?

I'll give you 30%.

What people these days!


Come back through again.

- Sorry.

- Here you are.

Really love strawberries!

- A document, please.

- Yes.

- Give me your bag.

- Here.

- Irena Yaru...

- Yaroshenko, Irena Yaroshenko.

- This is okay.

- We're sorry, but we must...

What's this?

My savings.

- It goes off, don't know what to do.

- Must be broken.

Our apologies, Madame,

this can happen.

Nello, where are you going?

Are you thirsty?

I know you need a job,

if you're interested I'm leaving.

- Thanks, but I found one.

- Great!

- I can see for a friend.

- If you want.

- I just got my degree, I'll work

in a lawyer's office. - Congratulations!

You're lucky,

all jewelers here in Velarchi

don't usually take foreigners

into their homes.

Gina, would you do it

for that trifle?

Never! Besides

that stairway's a pigsty.

Okay, I get you!

Excellent job!

- When do I come?

- Tuesdays and Saturdays.

- So I give you 40 a week.

- Alright.

- What deposit to open the account?

- 8,000.

I heard you're looking for work.

My mother needs help.

Are you interested?

I have full week.

- I can see for a friend.

- Thank you.

Did you polish

the fourth floor doors and name plates?

I shouldn't?

It wasn't your job.

But since you work miracles,

you're forgiven.

Thank you and if you need me...

- Gina, Tea's out of vitamins.

- I know, I'll get some.

- Have a good day.

- Bye, Madame.

Stairs, stairs, stairs...

- The elevator works.

- Makes me feel panicky.

I can't breathe,

so stairs, stairs...

I live on staircases!

There's another small job.

An apartment's been painted,

needs cleaning, organizing.

- Where?

- Third floor, apt. 6.

- How much should I ask?

- More you ask, the better for us both.

Alright, so we'll see you on Monday.


- Have a good meal.

- Thanks.

I can't stand her silence!

Only talks to her daughter,

she's a grouch with others.

How can she never talk?

- Must have problems.

- No shortage there.

- What does Mr. Donato do?

- They have a jeweler's lab.

He's director, she designs and engraves.

She's good, but no company.

If you like, we could go out.

I'm free only

Thursday afternoons and Sundays.

Why not?

Although I know nothing about you...

What's all that ruckus?

It's Valeria.

- Why not work in the outside lab?

- She's separated.

Not all who separate

set up labs in their homes!

Before too, what fighting!

There was peace only

when they went to the country.

She did her whole pregnancy there.


Yeah... Me too...

I can't talk right now.

Can I call you back?

Talk to you later.

Stop, thief!

Stop, thief!


Be right back.

May I help you?

- Actually I said 8mm.

- 42!

- 42! Where's 42?

- Me!

- Duplicates of all three

plus the remote. - Alright.

Make a copy of everything.

- Something wrong?

- No.

Meantime, can I pay?

- 60 euros...

- That man's first. - Sorry.


- The short one is out.

I don't have this one. - Are you sure?

It's been ordered.

You'll get me fired.

Wait, maybe there's a way.

- Feeling ill?

- I'm better now.

I don't like

going to the movies alone.

- Why not go with the girl?

- She wants just cartoons!

Maybe she's too young.

She'll be 4 on Sunday.

If I give her a savings account?

- Bank accounts earn nothing.

- No, that's not the purpose.

Every month

I'll deposit what I can set aside... when she's 18

she'll have a nest egg.

- Like some?

- Yes.

She'll know best

how to make the most of it.

Sorry, what a mess!

I'm sorry!

Don't worry...

That's a future day.

She'll have a nice sum.

Sounds like a good gift.

She'll like it.

Won't breathe a word, I swear!

You'll end up bad, believe me!

It's 3 years now you've been looking

and looking... What for?

Questions right and left...

You're sick!

Just look at that!

Madame, this is Matteo.

Nothing serious... forgot to set the alarm.

Yes, all's okay.

It gave me a scare!

Yes, I'll set it.

Can a real dream exist

among so many nightmares?

I'm real! Feel me?

It's me, Nello,

flesh, bones, skin, nerves.

Nightmares can be forgotten.

Trust me, I'll take you away

from all that mess.



- Kra-sa-vi-ca!

- Krasavica.

Maybe someday

I can forget my nightmares.

They're mine, it's easier,

but you?

Meaning? Talk plain.

Not enough money.

Now that I finished apt. 6,

you have to help me.

Be patient.

- Hello.

- Hi, Matteo.

How many jewelers

work in their homes here?

Except the third floor, all of them.

Don't they need someone to help

around the house...

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Giuseppe Tornatore

Giuseppe Tornatore (born 27 May 1956) is an Italian film director and screenwriter. He is considered as one of the directors who brought critical acclaim back to Italian cinema. In a career spanning over 30 years he is best known for directing and writing drama films such as The Legend of 1900, Malèna, Baarìa and The Best Offer. Probably his most noted film is Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, for which Tornatore won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He directed also several advertising campaigns for Dolce & Gabbana. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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