Letter from an Unknown Woman

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Letter from an Unknown Woman

  • 12 Feb 2010 — 17 Mar 2010
Letter from an unknown woman Austrian Cultural Forum London
Letter from an unknown woman Austrian Cultural Forum London

BFI Southbank

Belvedere RoadSouth BankLondon SE1 8XT


T +44 (0)20 7928 3232


One of cinema's most achingly poignant romances, Max Ophüls' version of Stefan Zweig's novella is also, despite being shot in a Hollywood studio, one of the great films about fin-de-siècle Vienna.

About to leave the city in order to avoid a duel, concert pianist Stefan Brand receives and reads a letter from a woman he can no longer remember - Ilse, who first nurtured a crush on him as a schoolgirl neighbour and whose later encounters with him were considerably more intimate. Both the flashback structure and Franz Planer's long, sinuous camera movements trap the lovelorn heroine - Joan Fontaine, magnificent throughout - within a cruel cycle of obsessive longing born of romantic fantasy. A wry meditation on memory, misplaced desire and the options open to women in patriarchal society, the film is at once darkly ironic and deeply moving.

Opens 12 February at BFI Southbank, Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, Irish Film Institute and cinemas nationwide. Watch the trailer & find out more at http://www.bfi.org.uk/go/letterfromanunknownwomanacf