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(2005 TV Movie)

Plot Summary

  • Rome 1943. ANGELA is an attractive, unwed mother who lives in a working class neighborhood of Rome. We are in the middle of the Second World War. Alone and considered a "disgrace," Angela is an easy target for gossip and backbiting. Hardened by life, she has learned to fend for herself and for her young "illegitimate" boy. Forced by necessity to ignore certain scruples and seek profit from the tragic events around her, she works on the black market for quick cash. But History, the one with a capital "H" throws her for a loop. It is October 16, 1943, the fateful day of the German purge upon Rome's Jewish Ghetto. Angela is informed of the round-up by Signor Brescia, an old jeweler who asks her to hide his son Davide in her home in exchange for a kilo of gold. Though full of misgivings, Angela accepts the trade-off and hosts the young Jew in the secret storeroom where she keeps her black market supplies. The beginning of their relationship is turbulent to say the least. Davide despises that greedy and insensitive woman, and she, in turn, considers him only "trouble," a liability that could get her into serious hot water. But in time, despite the odds, the two opposites, he the idealistic and she the practical, inexorably come to attract each other. Angela and Davide fall in love... an absolute love that denies all the glaring obstacles of those bitter days without future; a love nurtured on illusion replete with plans and projects too grand and distant to be plausible. But for Davide, that love, however fulfilling, is not enough: safely hidden in that house, he feels like a coward. At all costs, he wants to join the Resistance Movement and fight for Freedom, all the more so after he witnesses the brutal arrest of one of Angela's neighbors, the railway worker Giacomo Sinisi. Events take their course: it is March 23, 1944 and along Via Rasella, the "Bozen" Battalion is attacked by partisans. A bomb kills twenty-six soldiers and leaves roughly an equal number seriously wounded. The final death toll reaches thirty. The Nazis command an immediate reprisal. After hasty and furious negotiations, a "decimation" is ordered: for every German soldier, ten Italians will be killed, culled from the criminals, Jews and political prisoners detained at the Regina Coeli and Via Tasso prisons. News of the reprisal spreads like an evil omen and Angela, just back from the countryside outside Rome where she gets her Black Market supplies (and keeps her son out of harm's way), discovers that on precisely that same day, Davide had slipped out of the house to join the Resistance Movement. Ignoring the curfew, she marches through a city full of prowling German military vehicles, and tracks down a partisan contact who can bolster her hope that Davide is safe. But unfortunately, just the opposite is true: Davide was caught in a round-up and dragged off to Regina Coeli. Now Angela is impelled by desperation to find a solution, no matter how extreme, to save her beloved's life. She appeals to Chief Warden Marino Santipani, a longtime suitor of hers, whom she had always firmly refused. She tries to swing a deal with the man: a kilo of gold in exchange for Davide' life. But as Angela is quick to realize, it's not gold that Santipani wants. She accepts his implicit demand. The Chief Warden savagely possesses her with the arrogance of one who has finally conquered a young, attractive and spirited woman who had always tauntingly denied herself. But after Angela's mortifying sacrifice, the man reneges on his end of the deal and instead offers a painful dilemma. While recognizing his obligation, Santipani, cruel and cunning, imposes his own thankless task on her: he can cancel Davide's name from the list of condemned men to be consigned to the Germans, but she, instead of him, must name the replacement. Is Angela equal to the moral burden of deciding the life and death of another person... perhaps even a boy... or a man with wife and children? Angela caves in, she can't do it and Davide is consequently sent off to die with the other 335 victims of the Fosse Ardeatine massacre. Unspeakable grief nearly kills her as well, a grief that turns to rage and hatred. Aware that she's expecting Davide's baby, Angela is now convinced that justice can only mean one thing: murderous revenge. Gun in hand, she waits for Santipani in the shadows by the apartment building door... But in the fraction of a second between decision and action, she is overwhelmed by the realization that Davide had changed her. And suddenly, that pathetic man she is about to kill is no longer worth the weight of further remorse. But as her heart pounds and mind races, a shot is fired, its deafening report echoing through the entrance hall... a shot fired from another gun, brandished by another woman bent on revenge: Signora Sinisi, whose husband Giacomo was doomed to Davide's same fate. Overwhelmed by History, Angela is left with the painful awareness of her life-affirming decision... that and with a child to be born, vivid memento of a great and unforgettable love.

    - Written by Anonymous

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