Synopsis by Sandra Brennan
Thought provoking and a sure conversation starter, this powerful drama from Italian filmmaker Antonio Capuano earned a Silver Ribbon at the 1996 Venice Film Festival and has caused controversy in Italy from both the Vatican and the press because of its unapologetic look at the physical relationship between a priest and a young boy from the streets. But though dealing with a potentially explosive subject, it does so with depth and sensitivity. The priest's homosexuality is but one aspect of a larger story of crime, courage and compassion. Set in the Rione Sanita quarter of Naples, the film first introduces passionate Father Borrelli as he exhorts parishioners to stand firm against the continued encroachment of the Camorra crime syndicate that has plagued Naples since the 19th century. Borrelli's fearless and outspoken comments against the powerful crooks naturally cause them to want him dead, but it isn't so simple. If they kill him outright, he will become a martyr and his cause will persist. Instead, they decide to ruin his good name by exposing the relationship Borrelli has with the street musician Nunzio, a troubled 14-year-old who is forced to live with his equally-troubled aunt after his mother rejects him. For most of his life, Nunzio has known only violence and though he is heterosexual, he is so happy for the love and guidance offered by Borrelli that he does not mind the priest's lovemaking. Nunzio would rather die than betray Borrelli and so strongly resists the Camorra's attempts to use corrupt social workers, policemen and bureaucrats to convince him to file charges.
against-the-system, compassion, corruption, courage, criminal, Divided-loyalties, friendship, government, homosexual