35mm - colour
festivals & awards:
Tuscan RIviera 1936.
Giovanni Mansani is 30 yrs. old, a good job in the bank, a wife, a small son. His life is quiet and stress free, without any deep emotional ties.
One day ,on his daily train commute to work, he sees Maria, an old girlfriend. Giovanni, looking for adventure naturally sets out to seduce her...
Maria , who has just come out of a long sentimentally dry period gives in easily to Giovanni’s advances, between the dunes and the pine trees on a deserted beach. Giovanni sees it as just a one night stand, but in the station one evening Maria suddenly reappears before him and they end up making love with such intensity, it disturbs him. Once more, Maria who is able to secure another date with him, at the third encounter Giovanni turns cruel and violent. Maria is deeply offended by this outburst but suffers in silence. The relationship seems to be an irreparable compromise.
Three months pass, and war in Africa breaks out. Giovanni must report for military training in Livorno. The hope of seeing Maria again returns and they eventually meet, both overwhelmed by the emotion, spending wonderful days together side by side. Once more fate comes between them as one morning, Maria with a friend is standing in front of the most elegant pastry shop in town and witnesses a family celebration: Giovanni with is wife are celebrating their little son’s birthday, a completely normal event , but for Maria to witness such a forseeable family event is more than disturbing, it is painful. She is therefore forced to make an inevitable decision, realising she is not cut out to play the role of a lover, and decides to leave Giovanni.
Nine years pass. in a countryside ridden by a war that has just ended, Giovanni and Maria meet again. by chance, on a train, like the first time. he has fought on the front line and known suffering and pity. she has gotten married and has with her a daughter , a few months old, and is awaiting desperately the return of her husband who has been reported missing. Giovanni and Maria cross over like shadows, the places of their love , while the nostalgia and torment is felt in every gesture.
From the novel with the same name by Carlo Cassola.