I Knew Her Well: The Criterion Collection
This prismatic portrait of the days and nights of a party girl in sixties Rome is a revelation. On the surface, I Knew Her Well, directed by Antonio Pietrangeli, plays like an inversion of La dolce vita with a woman at its center, following the gorgeous, seemingly liberated Adriana (Stefania Sandrelli) as she dallies with a wide variety of men, attends parties, goes to modeling gigs, and circulates among the rich and famous. But despite its often light tone, the film ultimately becomes a stealth portrait of a suffocating culture that dehumanizes people, especially women. A character study that never strays from its complicated central figure, while keeping us at an emotional remove, I Knew Her Well is one of the most overlooked films of the sixties, by turns funny, tragic, and altogether jaw-dropping.