The Dardennes brothers (The Kid With a Bike, L'Enfant) are back with their new film The Unknown Girl out on DVD from Curzon Artificial Eye on Monday 6th February.
The film tells the story about a young female doctor, Jenny Davin (Adele Haenel) in small town Liege, Belgium; who after a long day refuses to open the door to her clinic when already an hour after closing. The next morning policemen tell her that the young woman - a black African immigrant working as a prostitute.
This starts a moral guilt in our young female protagonist, a conflicting individual who is almost bullying to her young trainee doctor. The trainee is a male and she admits she did not open the door to the girl to instill a means of superiority.
She begins an investigation to find out the identity of the young girl who has been buried without a name so here family can be informed.
The Dardennes are famous for small town stories with universal themes, here are tropes of privacy, guilt and belonging. Jenny is unusual in the sense that we do not know her history, where has she come from; we are aware of her future more with the impending clinic she may well take control of. The story makes her reassess her decisions and she does alter from lacking bedside manner to becoming a better local GP by using her local knowledge to her advantage.
Shot with gripping hand held flourish in the same vein as classic neo-realism and the better Ken Loach films, bringing a sense of documentary realism to a fictional story.
It also has a political message on immigration within EU borders in today's current political climate providing a compelling platform for this intelligent film with a brave central performance from Haenel.
The Unknown Girl is out on DVD from Monday 6th February from Curzon Artificial Eye