Premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes earlier this year, director Roberto De Paolis brings a fresh new voice to Italian cinema. This story of a teenage girl about to take a vow of chastity and the rough-around-the-edges boy she meets, is set on the outskirts of Rome. Delicately handled, the film critiques the rise of evangelical fervour and the country's relationship to its the Roma population through the chemistry between magnetic leads Selene Caramazza and Simone Liberati.
Wide-eyed Agnese and streetwise Stefano are profoundly different. She is just seventeen and lives with her devout mother Marta (Barbora Bobulova, Black Souls LIFF15). He is twenty-five, with a difficult past and who eyes the world with suspicion.
Their unlikely pairing draws out aspects of themselves they barely connected with before. For Agnese, her growth into womanhood means pushing away the crutch of the Church. When Stefano’s parents are evicted, he realises there’s little difference between himself and the Roma he instinctively denigrates. Both young people feel their precarious sense of stability slipping away; clinging to each other may be their only chance of survival.