Blu-ray Review: I Knew Her Well | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 27th, 2021  

I Knew Her Well

Studio: Criterion

Mar 02, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Antonio Pietrangeli’s 1965 film tracks the young adult life of aspiring actress Adriana (the magnetic Stefania Sandrelli) as she cavorts about Rome, befriending many men, attending fancy parties, and taking on small-bit modeling jobs. Edited linearly but with sudden jumps ahead in time, we bear witness to Adriana’s small triumphs—and, more often—her many disappointments, as her gigs turn out to be far less glamorous than she believed, and every friend she meets along her way seems to only have their own self-interests in mind.

Voted by Italian critics to be one of the 100 most important Italian films ever made, the film underwent a bit of a rediscovery which included a U.S. theatrical run earlier this year. It’s a fine motion picture, although Sandrelli’s performance is its only truly eye-opening feature; its condemnation of celebrity culture doesn’t feel as biting today as it might have fifty years ago, and the ending will be predicted by most viewers well ahead of the final scenes. Still, it’s very well-shot, and well-acted—the familiar story isn’t without its memorable moments, either. It’s also worth calling attention to the movie’s superb soundtrack, which features a near-constant stream of Italian and English pop music. (And keep an eye out for a super-young Franco Nero as a grabby parking attendant.)

Criterion’s Blu-ray release is taken from that gorgeous 4K restoration, which does the film’s black-and-white photography deserved justice. (Nearly every frame looks like it could have been a vintage magazine ad, though Sandrelli’s presence certainly has a lot to do with that.) Included are two modern day interviews—one with the lead actress, and another with a film scholar who gives the director a career-spanning assessment—and, most interestingly, the original footage from Sandrelli’s audition. I Knew Her Well is a good movie that’s not quite the lost masterwork it’s being hailed as, but it’s worth a look for Italian cinema fans.

www.criterion.com/films/28600-i-knew-her-well

Author rating: 6/10

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