Bologna, Italy, Pre-war scenario. Michele Casali's only teenage daughter, Giovanna Casali, poses a problem to him. Driven by jealousy, she has just killed her best friend. After a painful trial, Giovanna is sent to to a psychiatric hospital due to her ¨non compus mentis¨ state . Michele is the only person that takes care of Giovanna during her isolated time at the hospital. Giovanna's mother, Delia, has never had a good relationship with her daughter, something which comes out to be more evident during Giovanna's time in reclusion. Meanwhile, Giovanna and Michele's already strong father-daughter link. Sergio, who is a police inspector and a close friend of Michele's, is the main witness of the whole situation and he is also in love with Delia. By the end of the war, Delia and Sergio took distance from Giovanna and Michele and went Northwards. In 1953, in a small cinema, the original family has an expected encounter.