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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

I Knew Her Well aka "Io la conoscevo bene" [Blu-ray]


(Antonio Pietrangeli, 1965)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Les Films du Siècle

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #801



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:55:36.930 

Disc Size: 43,356,742,029 bytes

Feature Size: 33,876,338,688 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Chapters: 27

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: February 23rd, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio Italian 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit



English, none



• New interview with actor Stefania Sandrelli (9:24)
New interview with film scholar Luca Barattoni about the career of director Antonio Pietrangeli (21:51)
Archival footage of Sandrelli’s audition (5:17)
Trailer (3:21)
PLUS: An essay by journalist and author Alexander Stille





Description: 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 co-wrote 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.



The Film:

Adriana (Stefania Sandrelli) is a young woman from the country who gets caught up in the tempestuous temptations of the big city in this somber moral drama. She has a series of affairs that are just for fun, but she becomes depressed when she desperately looks for a more meaningful relationship. The only men she finds sympathy with are a battered boxer (Mario Adorf) and a publicity agent (Nino Manfredi). Ugo Tognazzi has a brief part as a washed-up actor. Adriana's dreams are crushed to the point that she considers suicide her only alternative.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Stefania Sandrelli as a naive actress who becomes the victim of her own aspirations to fast and easy stardom. A bittersweet comedy (1965) from Italian director Antonio Pietrangeli (The Visit); it reinforced Sandrelli's popular screen image as the innocent broken by cruel social reality (cf Germi's Seduced and Abandoned) and also Pietrangeli's reputation as an antichauvinist director (his female characters are more than humorous foils) working in a strongly chauvinist genre. With Nino Manfredi and Ugo Tognazzi.

Excerpt from The Chicago Reader located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

I Knew Her Well looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion. This is dual-layered with a maxed out bitrate and cited as a 'New 4K digital restoration'. I can't imagine it looking much better - it is flawless exporting some consistent grain textures and impeccable contrast. It is in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and detail is crisp and depth appreciate throughout. This Blu-ray has no discernable flaws and supplies an immaculate 1080P presentation.


















Audio :

Criterion use their standard linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit) - in the original Italian language. It sounds fine with the usual Ital-post Dub sync rarely out of step. The score is credited to Benedetto Ghiglia (Pasolini's Pigsty) and Piero Piccioni (The 10th Victim, Adua and Her Friends, Hands Over the City, L'assassino, The Moment of Truth) and adds another pristine layer to the narrative expression. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.


Extras :

Criterion add some excellent self-produced extras starting with a new, 10-minute, interview with actor Stefania Sandrelli who talks about playing Adriana in I Knew Her Well and working with director Antonio Pietrangeli. We also get a new 22-minute interview with film scholar Luca Barattoni, author of Italian Post-Neorealist Cinema, who examines the career of director Antonio Pietrangeli, from his beginnings as a critic to his emergence as a leading voice in Italian film, and especially his innovative portrayal or women in the rapidly changing Italy of the 1960s. There is some moderately interesting archival footage of Sandrelli’s audition plus a trailer. The package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by journalist and author Alexander Stille.



Wow. I Knew Her Well is such a surprising and impressive film - justly sited as one of the "100 films that have changed the collective memory of the country between 1942 and 1978". The themes of loneliness, innocence, superficiality and disconnect with the character who is trying to embrace what the world has to offer - is extremely touching and deftly realized by director Pietrangeli. It really creeps up on you and I was absolutely blown away... This is a masterpiece and the Criterion Blu-ray package offers a brilliant a/v presentation with keen extras. Our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

February 1st, 2016


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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