Then a flash-forward to the present, where Federico (again Pier Giorgio Bellocchio), a regional inspector, knocks at the door of the apparently abandoned convent (which had been turned into a prison), to show it to a Russian tycoon (Ivan Franek), who intends to buy it. However, the purchase deal must be made with a mysterious count (Roberto Herlitzka) who roams around Bobbio alone at night and furtively lives in the former prison. The film will be released on Wednesday. "Liberty is the driving spirit of this film," Bellocchio explained during the press conference.
Liberty is the spirit that dominates the two timeframes in which the story unfolds. The story passes from the 17th century, when Benedetta, the nun accused of witchcraft, was walled-in alive, to the present, when we meet the vampire-count who represents the ultimate bulwark of Christian-Democrat power. This liberty is reflected onto the very form of the film. Bellocchio said: "I didn't focus at all on the dramaturgy and I was not interested in establishing rigid connections between the past and the present. There are allusions that interlink the two timeframes: the dominion of the Catholic Church in the 1600s paradoxically ends with the dominion of the Christian-Democrat Party in Italy which, although assuring a relative well-being, leached the blood out of an era that prospected innovation and change." Benedetta, the lead character, "represents an image of liberty, a woman who won't give up and who, until the very last, wants to be herself", explained the film director. He added: "She is a symbolic force which persists through time in order to miraculously defend her liberty." At the end of the film, Bellocchio shows finance police cars driving into town: it is a way of revealing the town's attempt to free Bobbio and, more generally, a nation from the rot of corruption, which is represented by the count.
"I don't believe in the miracles worked by the Guardia di Finanza, the finance police, but perhaps their actions childishly reassure the citizens. In Italy, unfortunately, it is normal for fake invalids to increase instead of diminishing after being arrested," he said. (AGI)