Una Femmina - The Code of Silence (first feature)

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Una Femmina - The Code of Silence (Una femmina)

Una Femmina - The Code of Silence (Una femmina)

Una Femmina - The Code of Silence (Una femmina)

original title:

Una femmina


Lirio Abbate, Serena Brugnolo, Adriano Chiarelli, Francesco Costabile, from the book "Fimmine Ribelli" by Lirio Abbate


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Rosa is a restless girl who lives with her mother's relatives in a remote South Italian village. Her mother’s mysterious death when she was still a child casts a gloomy shadow on her present. When the truth emerges and Rosa realizes she is trapped in a same predestined fate, she decides to betray her family seeking revenge against her own blood. However, when your family belongs to the 'ndrangheta mafia, a single failed step can lead to death.

It was the director and producer Edoardo De Angelis who proposed to me the idea of a project he was developing, based on Lirio Abbate’s book “Fimmine Ribelli”. It was definitely a brave choice to entrust for such a complex movie to a debuting director. The script’s draft was short but dense of rage and humanity, a story about criminality from a feminine point of view. The concept didn’t come from a peculiar real character but was rather inspired by the many stories in the book. Rosa embodies the multitude of women and voices in the book, resuming all of these dramatic experiences.All the women that had the courage to break their blood tie and the codes of the ‘Ndrangheta; the criminal organization that built its empire on the strength of the core of the society, as a Jungian archetype: the family. Psychological grip, oppression, and domestic extortion, these are the foundations that build up Rosa’s world. This film is primarily a family tale.
Therefore, I realized Rosa’s world and my background were tied together. I was born and raised in Calabria, an outcasted land, too many times forgotten by the institutions. With this movie I had the chance to look back at my past, my origins, and that was essential to create the emotional universe of the movie.
Una Femmina, despite the dramatic and violent theme, it’s an act of love towards my land. I can say that it was the film that chose me. If I think back at my personal story, I could not have figured a better movie for my debut. Shooting in Calabria was my priority. I spent months travelling to isolated small villages in the hinterland looking for faces, suggestions and images that could bring life to my vision.
Connecting myself with the traumatic experience of these women, making their oppression and powerlessness tangible. I wanted this film to be an inner, intimate experience, almost irrational for the audience. Una Femmina is a dark tale, a voyage in which the spectator can connect to an unconscious and
archetypical dimension.
The sound design work was essential to reinforce this direction. With Valerio Camporini we worked with drones and concrete music, real sounds that could lead to a turbulent sensorial experience, something that could go deep in our emotive substratum. The contribute of Davide Ambrogio, a singer and a
doubling with an impressive experience on the traditional musical heritage, made this fusion possible.
With Giuseppe Maio, the DOP, we worked mainly on still shoots and tableau vivants. My intention is to leave the chance to the spectator to fill the picture with his own focus and thoughts. We worked hard on the midtones and the contrasts, focusing on the close ups, to bring out faces, expressions and gazes.
All the actors took an active role on the undertones of their characters in a way to make them as real as possible. Despite the few weeks of the shootings, we had the chance to make rehearsals and improvisations. The strongest ideas were born on set. The final scene itself, with all its cathartic power was
born during some rehearsals.
Conceiving the actors as the soul of the movie, Lina Siciliano, with her debut, is the emotional pillar of the film. I immediately thought of a non-professional actor for Rosa’s character, I needed this plus that only the
real world can give. I soughed after a wounded soul, with rage running in her veins, a personification that I found in Lina. During the preparation, I started a long search in foster homes. Lina was the first to show up
at the casting and I saw thousands of girls after her, though I knew she was the one. Lina bears on her shoulders both a dramatic youth background and the anger of whom had to fight to survive and selfdetermine herself. Despite all the doubts, the difficulties, the pandemic and the unforeseen events, Lina
was the mainstay, a certainty.
We even waited for her delaying the shootings when she got pregnant until she gave birth to Luca, her son. She had to be Rosa and to be Rosa “Luca had to be born”, this is what Lina used to whisper on set.
A precious gift for a film that rounds about the maternity topic where a new birth represents the only hope for a change.