17th century, Bobbio: the young man of arms Federico arrives at the Santa Chiara convent to redeem his brother's name after he unexpectedly committed suicide and therefore cannot be buried in consecrated ground. He hopes to prove that he acted under the spell of his lover Sister Benedetta, accused of associating with Satan. Today Federico Mai, inspector of the Ministry, knocks on the door of the seemingly abandoned convent accompanied by the Russian billionaire Rikalkov, who intends to buy the property. The arrival of the two strangers puts the whole town of Bobbio in a state of turmoil and it mostly worries a mysterious Count who unlawfully inhabits the convent to hide from society and from his wife.

Marco Bellocchio returns to his birthplace of Bobbio where he shot his masterpiece "Fists in the Pocket" (1965) but this time he breaks the rules of the conventional storytelling by making two films in one. The first half clearly references the historical figure of the Nun of Monza, which inspired also a character in Alessandro Manzoni's "The Betrothed". Whereas the second half is inspired by Gogol's "The Government Inspector", adapted to match the current Italian crisis of values. The film teems with refined references to Bellocchio's previous works, double-meaning names and metaphors: the Count openly reminds of a Dracula who feeds off of people's future instead of their blood.

Giampietro Balia / PÖFF

Italy / France / Switzerland 2015