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The Unknown Girl

La fille inconnue

Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema

Adèle Haenel (Love at First Fight, VIFF 14) confirms her place in the firmament of French movie stars with a riveting turn in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s (Two Days, One Night, VIFF 14) latest drama. She plays Jenny, a committed young Belgian doctor who, when not training interns and making house calls, cares for the poor and needy at the clinic where she works. One day she receives a call from the police: a woman’s body has been found on a nearby riverbank. Might Jenny have any information that could help with the investigation? With a shock, she realizes that the woman was someone she had turned away from the clinic due to the lateness of the hour. With her conscience preying on her, she makes some inquiries of her colleagues and realizes that few seem even remotely interested in the fate, or even the identity, of the woman, who was black and without papers. So, driven by guilt, Jenny decides to investigate for herself…

“A deft, meticulous moral drama that has plenty on its mind while telling a taut, stripped-down story… Anyone conversant in the filmmakers’ earlier work will recognize all their trademarks [here]: the pristinely performed single-shot scenes, the lack of music on the soundtrack, the neorealism that informs every frame. No one crafts movies like these two men… The Unknown Girl isn’t just about guilt but also racism, the folly of pride and our collective need to be absolved for the bad things we’ve done—even if the penance doesn’t fit the infraction. All of this is done masterfully…”—Tim Grierson, Paste

Country of Origin: Belgium/France
Year: 2016
Running Time: 113 mins
Format: DCP
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Fabrizio Rongione, Thomas Doret, Morgan Marinne, Olivier Gourmet, Christelle Cornil
Executive Producer: Delphine Tomson
Producer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
Screenwriter: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Cinematographer: Alain Marcoen
Editor: Marie-Hélène Dozo
Production Design: Igor Gabriel
Production Company: Les Films du Fleuve / Archipel 35 / Savage Films / France 2 Cinema / VOO / BE tv / RTBF
Print Source: A-Z Films

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