festival & awards:
Christmas Eve. Manuela Paris returns home, to a seaside town near Rome; she is not yet 28 years of age. She’s been away for some time: she left when still a youth to serve in the military, fleeing from an adolescence adrift, from the frustrations of a mother seeking redemption through her, and from the lacerations of a torn family. With anger, determination, and sacrifice, Manuela has managed somehow to build the life she dreamed of, becoming a noncommissioned army officer and platoon commander at a forward operating base in the Afghan desert, responsible for the life and death of thirty men. But the bloody attack that left her seriously wounded forces her to fight a war that is quite different, and no less insidious: against memories, disillusionment, and pain, but also against the stereotyped role of woman and victim that society attempts to impose upon her. An encounter with the mysterious guest at the Hotel Bellavista, Mattia Rubino, a man apparently without a past and, like her, suspended in his own personal limbo of waiting and hoping, provides the opportunity to grapple with her own story, and to understand that life is always worth living – because no one, not even she herself, is what they appear to be.