Following the gorgeous, seemingly liberated Adriana (Divorce Italian Style’s Stefania Sandrelli) as she chases her dreams in the Rome of La dolce vita, I Knew Her Well is at once a delightful immersion in the popular music and style of Italy in the sixties and a biting critique of its sexual politics and the culture of celebrity. Over a series of intimate episodes, just about every one featuring a different man, a new hairstyle, and an outfit to match, the unsung Italian master Antonio Pietrangeli, working from a script he cowrote with Ettore Scola, composes a deft, seriocomic character study that never strays from its complicated central figure. I Knew Her Well is a thrilling rediscovery, by turns funny, tragic, and altogether jaw-dropping.

Janus Films is proud to present the U.S. theatrical premiere of a new 4K digital restoration undertaken by the Criterion Collection in partnership with the Cineteca di Bologna.

ITALY  •  1965  •  115 MINUTES  •  BLACK & WHITE

Alexander Payne on I Knew Her Well

My favorite national cinemas, other than American, are Japanese and Italian from the forties to the seventies—and particularly from the fifties and sixties. As one continues to dig, one finds in this period an inexhaustible supply of gems, and I Knew Her Well is nothing short of pay dirt. It stands with La dolce vita, Il sorpasso, and Michelangelo Antonioni’s trilogy as a brilliant—and brilliantly entertaining—document of Italy’s contradictions in the second decade after the war, and, like Antonioni, Pietrangeli put women at the center of his films. Here, winds of both sadness and compassion blow through his portrait of an aspiring starlet who moves to Rome and, in a series of minutely observed episodes, allows herself to be used by a string of men. The perfectly cast Stefania Sandrelli plays Adriana, a wannabe who realizes too late the pointlessness of her dreams. Pretty much everyone who sees this movie is blown away.


Adriana Astarelli   Stefania Sandrelli
Emilio Ricci   Mario Adorf
Dario Marchionni   Jean-Claude Brialy
The writer   Joachim Fuchsberger
Cianfanna   Nino Manfredi
Roberto   Enrico Maria Salerno
Gigi Baggini   Ugo Tognazzi
Paganelli   Franco Fabrizi
Antonio Marais   Robert Hoffmann
Italo   Franco Nero


Directed by   Antonio Pietrangeli
Screenplay   Ruggero Maccari, Antonio Pietrangeli, Ettore Scola
Producer   Turi Vasile
Cinematography   Armando Nannuzzi
Editing   Franco Fraticelli
Production design   Maurizio Chiari
Set decoration   Bruno Cesari
Music   Benedetto Ghiglia, Piero Piccioni