La Ribelle (1993)

Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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Enza (Penelope Cruz) has been around the block, at least as far as survival on the streets is concerned. She's also not averse to stealing from her sister Rosaria (Lorenza Indovina). However, when they are both sent to a boarding school/reformatory which is run by nuns, they expect the worst - lots of rules, lots of confinement, arbitrary punishments, etc. Instead, they find that Sister Valida (Laura Betti), who runs the school, believes in letting the girls out from time to time, and permits an unusual amount of freedom. Thus, even though they experience the usual reform-school interactions with the other girls, such as fights and punishment for them, they get to explore the world a bit, too. Enza even gets to learn something about romance with a couple of interesting boys. This closely observed teen drama was directed by novelist and screenwriter Aurelio Grimaldi, who also works full time as a teacher.