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Bruce, recipient of a Villa Medici grant, arrives in Rome, prepared for a year long stay. His brother has died. His girlfriend has left him.
As the days go by, cut off from the rest of the world and his usual reference points, he learns to live in the imposing surroundings of this magnificent, solemn palace with its strange gardens, and in the company of the other artists.
He meets Matteo, a young Roman working in the Villa’s office. Little by little, Matteo insinuates himself into Bruce’s life.
He turns up without warning. Takes Bruce out to discover the city and its churches, paintings, fountains, statues. Matteo prowls around Bruce.
Troubled and unsettled by Matteo’s resemblance to his brother, Bruce allows himself to be dragged into an unusual relationship lacking any clear boundaries. He is swept away on a cruel journey of initiation, full of tense waiting interspersed by brutal games of love.
Then Aston arrives. He’s fascinated by serial killers. When Bruce wants to put a stop to things, it’s too late. He’s overtaken by twisted relationships, emotionally troubled, caught up by his own madness, failings, dark places.