3 user 17 critic

Giovanna's Father (2008)

Il papà di Giovanna (original title)
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 ... See full summary »


Pupi Avati
14 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Silvio Orlando ... Michele Casali
Francesca Neri ... Delia Casali
Ezio Greggio ... Sergio Ghia
Alba Rohrwacher ... Giovanna Casali
Serena Grandi ... Lella Ghia
Manuela Morabito Manuela Morabito ... Elide Traxler
Gianfranco Jannuzzo Gianfranco Jannuzzo ... Preside Apolloni
Paolo Graziosi ... Andrea Taxler
Valeria Bilello ... Marcella Traxler
Sandro Dori Sandro Dori ... Belletti
Rita Carlini Rita Carlini ... Lia
Antonio Pisu Antonio Pisu ... Cicci Dalmastri
Edoardo Romano Edoardo Romano ... Pradelli
Lorena Miller Lorena Miller ... Cassiera
Chiara Sani Chiara Sani ... Amabile


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. Written by Juan Merchán

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cinema | italy | murder | execution | bomb | See All (12) »


Drama | War


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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]





Release Date:

23 December 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il papà di Giovanna See more »

Filming Locations:

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Duea Film, Medusa Film See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

War-time drama of endurance
27 January 2018 | by nmegaheySee all my reviews

Considering the characters, the period and the issues involved, the challenge faced by director Pupi Avanti in his relating of the story of Il Papà di Giovanna is in finding the best way to get across a balanced perspective on events. The result is that none of them seem to be entirely satisfactory other than the one who, admittedly, has been chosen as the subject of the film's title - Giovanna's father.

Giovanna's father Michele Casali is an art teacher at a school in Bologna in the late 1930s, just as the grip of Mussolini's fascist goverment is tightening and leading the country toward war. Casali has a teenage daughter who is somewhat delicate, childish and socially awkward for her age. Her father cares for her (her mother appears indifferent), but worries about her ability to lead a normal life, meet boys and get married to someone suitable.

His concerns grow after Giovanna has a bad experience at a party organised by Giovanna's friend and study partner Marcella, whose uncle is a senator in the Mussolini regime. Soon after the party Marcella is found dead in the gymnasium of the school and Michele's suspicions and fears that his daughter was involved in some way are confirmed when Giovanna is accused of the girl's murder. At the end of the trial however, Giovanna is deemed not responsible for her actions and is sent to an institution rather than a prison.

The handling of the case and Giovanna's involvement isn't handled terribly effectively. We are shown nothing, we have seen little of Giovanna's actions or behaviour to be able to understand what has happened, certainly nothing to suggest that she might be capable of murder, and there is very little detail provided on the presentation of the murder case or the trial. GIovanna confesses, giving obscure and unsound reasons for the killing, so there is not even any question of did she or didn't she. Everything is seen from her father's perspective.

Which is all well and good, or at least it's a consistent position, if not entirely a satisfactory one. While we learn and come to greatly admire his dedication in looking after his daughter despite the privations he suffers, sacrificing his marriage, his job, his home and his dignity and having to do it all moreover in he middle of a war, it means that all those other aspects and the characters involved are not afforded a credible voice or perspective of their own.

Giovanna's mother (Francesca Neri) is silent and brooding, offering no sign of inner life or desires other than significant glances she sends the way of their friend and neighbour, who is a police officer. Michele eventually notices (and it's suggested that Giovanna has noticed and that this instability in the family might be the main reason behind Giovanna's breakdown), and leaves her with love and regret. The war and its conclusion.are handled in a cursory fashion, with round ups and shootings that shed little light on what has happened in between.

The relentlessly downbeat situation becomes somewhat depressing, Michele wearing a permanent hangdog expression, his silent sullen wife suffering marriage to a man she doesn't love and a daughter she cares nothing about, Giovanna treated inhumanely in a miserable institution, the war and bombing adding to the horrors. Despite the grimness of the situation, Avanti expects the viewer not only to care about the characters you can barely comprehend never mind like, but believe that this could come to any kind of happy ending. And yet it does in a way and, surprisingly, you even find yourself strangely moved by it all. If there's a lesson in there about endurance having its own rewards, Il Papà di Giovanna demonstrates that very well indeed.

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