Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This unusual biographical drama explores a period in the life of Nobel Prize-winning Italian nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi, (1901-1954) who contributed to the U.S.'s Manhattan Project (which developed the nuclear bomb) after developing the first working nuclear reactor at the University of Chicago in 1942. As a celebrated professor at Rome University in the 1930's Ferm (Ennio Fantastichini) attracted many brilliant students. One of them was the highly gifted and very unstable young mathematitian Ettore Maiorana (Andrea Prodan). Ettore, estranged from his abusive family, was more or less adopted by Fermi and his wife, until Fermi unwittingly betrayed him by admitting to Ettore's mother that he was staying with him. At that point, Ettore, whose mathematical skills far exceeded Fermi's and which had contributed to his development of nuclear physics, began his swift descent into some sort of paranoid state. He began camping out in his family's abandoned estate and eventually disappeared from sight. To this day, no one knows whether he killed himself, was murdered, or successfully changed identities.