A bottled up tension tends to result in a bang once the outlet is found – which is the premise of La ragazza del mondo (The Worldly Girl). Giulia Castronovo (Sara Serraiocco) is a bright young girl who grows up in a devout Jehovah’s Witnesses’ home. When she visits a member of the congregation with a fellow church member, they bump into her son who is recently released from prison. The son – aptly named Libero (Michele Riondino) – intrigues Giulia, who in turns convinces her father to employ Libero in his company. The relationship quickly blossoms with some disastrous consequences to the family and to Giulia’s relationship with the church.
The story is essentially about Giulia’s yearning from freedom, with Libero as the catalyst. Marco Danieli, the director, somehow manages to tread a careful line not to demonise the Jehovah’s Witnesses too much. In the rigidity of the faith system and the harsh punishments against those who break the rule, there are some unspoken sympathy that the viewers can see – albeit ever so subtly. La ragazza del mondo is only one of the two movies that I saw from the Italian Film Festival this year, which provides me with some food for thought: when we crave for total freedom, can we handle it if it is finally entrusted to us?