Veleni (second feature)

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costume design:


Visioni Segrete, Marta Film





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1951. A small town in southern Italy inhabited only by women. The men died during World War II, or had emigrated to America in search of a better life. The only ones left are don Egidio, the parish priest, the pharmacist, Oreste, and Melograno. Melograno is an oddball misfit whose expeditions take him into the countryside and along mule tracks. He brings with him a gramophone on wheels with which he regales the entire valley with masterpieces of the European opera genre. Antonio, a teacher of literature at a Jesuit boarding school, comes back to his hometown for the first time after many years to attend his father’s funeral. His father is Dr Bonadies, the town’s physician, who specialised in psychiatry and was a friend of Carl Gustav Jung. Dr Bonadies died in mysterious circumstances the day before. Antonio is welcomed by his mother, Bianca, and his aunt, Dianora. The two eccentric women had sent Antonio away from his home while still a child, due to Antonio’s discovery of the morbid relationship between his father and the two women. During the funeral, Antonio sees a woman dressed in red along the avenues of the cemetery. He finds her presence disturbing. She poses various unsettling questions.
In the old family palace, Palazzo Bonadies, Antonio, after an absence of many years, sleeps restlessly, beset by nightmares after drinking a strange infusion he had received from his mother and aunt.
Domestic life is punctuated by some comic relief, thanks to the presence of the family’s longstanding housekeeper, Annunziata, who provides the counterpoint of the common sense of the common people at large, when faced daily with Bianca and Dianora’s bizarre foibles.
In the basement of the palace, Antonio discovers a laboratory in which the two women cultivate hallucinogenic plants and mushrooms. Their interest dates back Dr Bonadies’ journey with them to Argentina, before Antonio was born.
Stunned by this discovery, Antonio confides in Oreste, who hands him a letter written by his father. The town harbours no end of mysteries and puzzling encounters. Antonio meets Marta again. Marta is a charming woman who works as a postal clerk. Nine years before, they had been passionate lovers.
Antonio wants to uncover the mysteries of his father’s life. His presence represents a challenge to Bianca and Dianora’s surreal lifestyle.
Melograno comic role and the goodness of heart of the local womenfolk provide comic relief, a far cry from the philosophy of hallucinogenic tripping embraced by Antonio’s mother and aunt − their own attempt to escape the clutches of depression.
Antonio goes back to his pupils at the boarding school where he teaches. His tender attitude toward his charges earns him the reprimands of the old headmaster. In the meantime, back at Palazzo Bonadies, Bianca and Dianora put into practice a daring plan, to the detriment of Antonio. On his return, Antonio will be faced with many, many surprises and dramatic turns of events, new murders and further insidiousness. It will be a battle to the end, if he is unveil the secrets of his family and of his own past.