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Viola, Franca (2017)

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Sicily, 1965. When 17 year old Franca is pressured into marrying a jilted lover who kidnapped and raped her, she finds the strength to defy the status quo, and her act of defiance will set ... See full summary »


Marta Savina
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Antonino Bruschetta ... Bernardo Viola
Carlo Calderone Carlo Calderone ... Filippo Melodia
Claudia Gusmano ... Franca Viola
Maurizio Puglisi Maurizio Puglisi ... Don Valerio


Sicily, 1965. When 17 year old Franca is pressured into marrying a jilted lover who kidnapped and raped her, she finds the strength to defy the status quo, and her act of defiance will set a precedent that will change Italian history forever. Based on a true story.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Biography | Drama




Italy | USA


Italian | Sicilian

Release Date:

22 April 2017 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Based on the true story of Franca Viola who was kidnapped and raped by a former boyfriend in 1965. He had hoped to force her to marry him using the local Sicilian law of 'matrimonio riparatore', Article 544 of the Italian criminal code, where a rapist would be forgiven of his crime if he married his victim in an effort to restore her 'damaged' honour and that of her family.

She rejected him and proceeded to press criminal charges against her rapist and became the first woman to do so. She was also bucking tradition and in doing so, attracted worldwide attention and crowds flocked to debates about the trial, which was covered even by The New York Times. It also became a pivotal moment in Italy's history as Northern Italy was undergoing social and cultural change, but Southern Italy was still seen as out-of-step with progressive ideas of equality so Viola's trial was seen as a major social and cultural event.

Article 544 was only finally repealed in 1981. See more »

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User Reviews

24 September 2017 | by anamariadlSee all my reviews

I saw this film yesterday when it premiered at Raindance Film Festival in London. The backbone of the film is a real event that happened to a real woman who changed the course of history with her attitude towards the idea that any wrongdoing needs to be punished. It needs to be put into place, it needs to be recognised and dealt with as what it is, something wrong.

I really appreciated the fact that the film did not overdo it with the drama of the punishment nor with the refusal of the 'rehabilitating marriage' nor with how things unfolded in the aftermath. The main character's proud, soft smile followed immediately by the simple phrases at the end, are explanatory enough for what needs to be remembered about this film - that the emancipation of women had to happen, it happened and it will still happen.

After the screening, the director talked about the inspiration for her film, her homeland Italy and the book she read about the true story of Franca Viola. I would encourage anyone to read about Franca Viola. Her story is much more powerful than what is depicted in this film and definitely is of significant importance to our lives.

Viola, Franca: a great cinematographic experience.

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