“The film was inspired by the chance discovery of the ancient prisons in Bobbio, and it gave me the idea for the story of Benedetta, a nun walled up alive in the prison/convent of Santa Chiara in Bobbio. I felt that this story that had reemerged from such a distant past deserved a second look in present-day Italy, and more precisely Italy as it is reflected in a town, Bobbio, that has been erased by modernity and globalization.” (Marco Bellocchio)
In 1959, Marco Bellocchio (Piacenza, 1939), broke off his studies in philosophy at Milan’s Cattolica University to move to Rome to study at the CSC – National Film School. In 1961-1962, he made the short films Abbasso lo zio, La colpa e la pena and Ginepro fatto uomo, then moved again, to London, to attend the Slade School of Fine Arts. His feature directorial debut, Fists in the Pocket, won the Silver Sail at Locarno in 1965 and thrust Bellocchio into the international spotlight. In 2011, he received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival. Dozens of retrospectives of his films have been held all over the world, including the one at MOMA in New York in 2014, for his 50th anniversary in film, another at the 43rd La Rochelle Film Festival, and yet another at the British Film Institute in London in 2018. In 2021, he was awarded the Palme d’Or for Lifetime Achievement at Cannes. Since 2014, Bellocchio has been the president of the Cineteca di Bologna.