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GIOVANNA’S FATHER

Director: PUPI AVATI

ITALY • 2008 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 35MM • 104 MIN


A father’s love for his troubled daughter may be the only thing that can save her in this stirring drama from prolific director Pupi Avati. It is 1938, Benito Mussolini is in power and Michele (a wonderful performance by Silvio Orlando, who is best known for his work with Nanni Moretti) is a kindly teacher living in Bologna. Michele and his wife Delia (Francesca Neri) have a teenage daughter, Giovanna (Alba Rohrwacher), who is the most important thing in Michele’s life.

As much as Michele indulges her, Giovanna is an unstable and disturbed young woman who one day murders a school friend in a fit of anger. Michele stands by Giovanna once she’s committed to a mental hospital where she receives only the most minimal care. Refusing to indulge in either simplistic psychologising (Giovanna’s condition is simply treated) or cheap politics (a local policeman proves to be a model neighbour), Avati tackles a number of heavy issues with a combination of intellectual clarity and emotional power that’s surprisingly effective.

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