The Seminarian (first feature)

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The Seminarian (Il seminarista)

original title:

Il seminarista

directed by:


GianLuigi Tosto, Francesco Tasselli, Giorgio De Giorgi, Gianfelice D’Accolti, Filippo Massellucci, Andrea Pelagalli, Marco Nanni, Andrea Anastasio, Andrea Cerofolini, Gianmarco Dolfi, Stefania D’Amore, Michela Parzanese, Giulia Anastasio, Emanuele Biagi, Luigi Bacci



set design:

Luciana Tacconi

costume design:







film run:




release date:


festivals & awards:

  • Sudestival 2014
  • Gallio Film Festival 2014: Grand Jury Prize "Emidio Greco"
  • Ariano Film Festival 2014: Lungometraggi
  • A.I.F.I.C. - American Initiative For Italian Culture 2014
  • Trani Film festival 2014
  • Religion Today Film Festival 2014)
  • UMIFF - University of Miami Italian Film Festival 2015
  • FAU - Florida Atlantic University 2015

Italy, 1959. A ten-year-old boy called Guido enters a Catholic seminary, fascinated by the idea of becoming a priest. He quickly understands that in order to be a good seminarian he has to submit to an ascetic and unnatural training, consisting in mortification of the flesh, obsession with sin and repression of one's sexual instincts and desires. Guido finds himself up against a deeply hierarchical system, where strict observance of rules and blind obedience to superiors are taught. A system in which thinking for oneself is forbidden. It always happens when the demands of the individual are in conflict with the self-preservation of the Establishment. Moreover, the devotional rites that are practised at the seminary focus on the obsessive repetition of ritual and prayers, the catechistic indoctrination and leave the “love for one’s neighbour” teaching aside, especially regarding the needy. Guido instead will hold dear the practice of fraternal love and throughout the course of his childhood and early adulthood he will share good and bad times with his fellow seminarians and dearest friends until a series of unforeseeable events will lead him to learn a bitter truth: life as he imagined it is not what it seems and, in order to save face, immorality can be hidden and tolerated.

“The Seminarian” is a coming-of-age tale about a group of children and teenagers in a minor Catholic seminary, a little-known reality that has never been portrayed by either Italian or international cinema.
The decision of using the black and white film takes the viewer back to the prevalent colors of those Seminary times: the chapel, the long halls, our spiritual adviser's office, even the cassacks and pristly robes of the seminarians. The black and white film helps to recreate a reality where the shadows of hell and the litgh of heaven, sin and vertue are in a perpetual fight.