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The Unknown Girl

Friday, April 07, 2017
8:45 p.m.


Sunday, April 09, 2017
3:45 p.m.
Victoria Theatre

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Though the Dardennes brothers are best known for their portraits of working-class lives, the protagonist of their latest film is an empathetic and hard-working doctor. And yet the filmmakers' allegiance to the lives of the downtrodden and underrepresented remains clear as the story unfolds. Jenny Davin (Adèle Haenel, also in Nocturama) is working with her intern late one night when someone buzzes for entrance to her practice. Since it's after hours, Jenny doesn't answer the call, and finds out the next day that the woman who rang died later that night, and that police have been unable to identify her. Feeling culpable and remorseful, the young physician tries to uncover the identity of the deceased, which takes her into a world of refugees that brushes up against her own in unforeseen and unexpected ways. Compassion isn't always an easy emotion to convey, but Haenel gives the character an immensely inviting demeanor whether she's making house calls to a man who might have known the woman who died or encouraging her intern to stay in school. With Dardennes regulars Jérémie Renier and Olivier Gourmet in supporting roles, The Unknown Girl is another stellar entry in the Belgian filmmakers' illustrious careers. —Rod Armstrong

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne were born in Liège, Belgium, and have written and directed several features together, including two Palme d'Or winners Rosetta (1999) and L'Enfant (2005). Their most recent films have been The Kid with a Bike (2011) and Two Days, One Night (2014). Speaking about their protagonist in Unknown Girl, Jean-Pierre commented, "Jenny is possessed by the unknown girl, and this is what makes her so determined and so patient in her search for [the girl's] name. It's not a supernatural possession but a moral possession. That's what interested us."
Film Details
  • Country(ies): Belgium/France
  • Language(s): French
  • Year: 2016
  • Running time: 106
  • Director(s): Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
  • Producer(s): Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd
  • Writer(s): Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
  • Cinematographer(s): Alain Marcoen
  • Editor(s): Marie-Hélène Dozo
  • Music: François Petit
  • With: Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud, Jérémie Renier

Print Source:
IFC Films
11 Penn Plaza, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10001