Follow TV Tropes


Film / I Knew Her Well

Go To

I Knew Her Well (Italian: Io la conoscevo bene) is an 1965 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Antonio Pietrangeli.

19-year-old Stefania Sandrelli, in her Star-Making Role, plays Adriana, who opens the movie working in a seaside resort town. Adriana has dreams of being an actress, so she goes to Rome, gets an agent, has publicity shots taken, and goes to acting classes. Instead of fame, however, she winds up seeing the dark, ugly side of the entertainment industry.

Mario Adorf plays Emilio, a boxer that Adriana watches fight. Karin Dor plays Adriana's friend Barbara. A pre-stardom Franco Nero appears as a gas station attendant.


  • Central Theme: The film verges on Random Events Plot, with various events happening as Adriana goes to Rome and tries to make it in show business. But there is a central connecting theme, namely, how she is sexually and financially exploited by rapacious men. Her slimy agent is clearly more concerned with bilking her than with furthering her career, and later he tries to pimp her out to a rich guy. Adriana models a dress between rounds of a boxing match, and drunk men hoot at her. Her boyfriend has sex with her, then sneaks out of the hotel in the middle of the night, sticking her with the bill.
  • Driven to Suicide: The film ends with Adriana jumping from her apartment balcony to her death.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The long pan across the beach finally gets to Adriana's feet as she lies on the beach, in a shot that continues to pan up as it shows the rest of her lovely body.
  • Hates Being Alone: The main character constantly go out to parties and when she's alone listens to music so that she doesn't feel alone.
  • Horrible Hollywood: It isn't Hollywood, it's Rome and the Italian film industry. But basically it's a Horrible Hollywood plot, as a young lady with dreams of stardom goes to Rome and endures a series of indignities and humiliations. There's also a scene where Baggini, a has-been actor desperate for work, is forced to tap dance on a table at a party, while the producer who has no intention of actually giving him work laughs.
  • It's All About Me: Adriana, who work at a beauty salon, is so self-centered that she interrupts a customer's manicure to file her own nails. She can afford to do this because she is the mistress of the salon's owner.
  • Kick the Dog: Adriana appears in a newsreel publicity clip, which she hopes will help her get noticed in the movie industry as a "new face". She goes back to the beach and the movie theater where she used to work, and watches the newsreel with the other usherettes...only to discover that the interview was edited into a comedy piece that makes her look like a brainless bimbo. She is humiliated.
  • Match Cut: From Adriana's face as she looks at a baby in a crib on the floor, to a boxer's face going smack into the mat of the boxing ring. It's a boxer named Emilio, and Adriana is in the audience watching his fight.
  • Mood Whiplash: Adriana is driving around with her boyfriend and another couple on a date, with the foursome laughing and flirting, and, in the other couple's case, making out in the back seat. Then her boyfriend turns a corner and slams on the brakes. There's a dead body in the street, with a dazed bloody man standing over it, telling Adriana and company that he swerved to avoid a cyclist.
  • P.O.V. Cam: A jittery POV shot from the perspective of Baggini, a has-been actor who is debasing himself by tap dancing on top of a dinner table, while all the guests laugh and hoot at him. He's trying to impress a producer to get a part.
  • Really Gets Around: Adriana has this habit of falling in love with every man she meets. The woman who helps her get an abortion apparently works as a Miss Kitty, and she tells Adriana that she should use her assets and work as a High-Class Call Girl.
  • Repeat After Me: One of the hopeless amateurs in Adriana's acting class recites a line of dialogue, then recites the stage direction "He goes over to her and takes her hand."
  • Round Table Shot: This is used in Adriana's acting class when she and all the other hopeless wannabe actors practice their diction by chanting some vowel-heavy words over and over. The camera gradually spins faster and faster until everything is a blur, and the scene finally ends when Adriana faints. She's pregnant.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit:
    • Adriana is dancing in a club when her horny boyfriend Dario removes her jacket to reveal she's wearing a sexy backless outfit.
    • A blonde actress in the party scene is wearing a cocktail dress with a "back" that barely covers her bottom.
  • Skinnydipping: Adriana and Dario go skinnydipping in the ocean; Adriana says that he was right that it's more fun without a swimsuit.
  • Toplessness from the Back:
    • In her first appearance Adriana is shown lying face down on a towel on the beach, wearing only a pair of bikini bottoms.
    • A lot of this in the scene where Adriana's strolling around the author's house after sex, clad only in a sheet.
  • Unreveal Angle: The camera doesn't show the scandalous publicity photo Adriana sees at the agent's office, but she refuses to pose like that.