Tommaso is the youngest son of the Cantones, a large, traditional southern Italian family operating a pasta-making business since the 1960s. On a trip home from Rome, where he studies literature and lives with his boyfriend, Tommaso decides to tell his parents the truth about himself. But when he is finally ready to come out in front of the entire family, his older brother Antonio ruins his plans.
The tumultuous political events of the late sixties that swept across Europe left a particular mark on Italy. The radical Red Brigades, committed to the violent overthrow of the state, were formed out of the student protests of 1968. Prima Linea was another Italian terrorist organization, founded in the late seventies and even more extreme in its methods.
De Maria tackles his subject from the perspective of his male protagonist, who looks back from his jail cell on his youthful exploits with understanding, candour and remorse. Believing there would be a coup by right-wing elements, a young Sergio goes underground, convinced the use of violence is a necessary choice. There he meets the equally committed Susanna, falls in love and continues to fight the brutal battle of a political extremist. Eventually, Sergio grows disenchanted with the tactics of the Prima Linea, but when Susanna is captured, he resorts to the methods he has learned as a militant to try to spring her from prison. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]
Ali and Nino are upper-class teenagers living in Azerbaijan just before the outbreak of World War I. He is Muslim, and she is Christian—but despite their cultural differences, they love each other and get married despite the disapproval of their parents. When Ali takes her to spend several months in Persia, she realizes how much her freedom is being constrained. The clash between East and West and between traditional Muslim life and the twentieth-century independence of her upbringing is very striking. Then the Great War breaks out, and things take a turn for the worse. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
It’s 1348. The plague has brutally hit Florence. A group of then young people, seven women and three men, rebel against the feeling of death that is about to swallow them. They flee the city and find refuge in an abandoned villa in the Tuscan hills. Here, between moral doubts and the tasks needed to survive, they kill time by telling each other stories until they will decide to return. The stories are varied – tragic, bizarre, funny or erotic – but common and central to all of them is the female presence.