Sicily, in the first half of the 18th Century. The island hesitates between barbarianism and liberty. Amongst the noble families of Palermo, the Ucrias slumber on in the respect of age-old tradition. Little Marianna is destined like her sisters to be married off or to become a nun. Yet Marianna is different : deaf and dumb, of exceptional intelligence, sensitive to every vibration in the world around her, an eternal round of marriages, balls, auto-da-dés, hangings and familial obscurantism. Forced, at the age of 13, to marry the old duke Pietro, her uncle, she becomes the young mother of three chidren. Marianna learns sign language with the help of a French tutor. Upon reading the new philosophers she becomes impassioned with their utopian ideas. She struggles against injustice and misery and affirms her feminity, identity and sensuality. In the face of repession and submission, of a terrible truth hidden from her since childhood, Marianna's stance is highly personal...
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"Fascinated by the theme of trust, I seek, for my films, characters whose paths have taken them from the deepest darkness into light. Another thing which whetted my interest in Marianna's story is the theme of memory. Her story speaks about the past, but is intimately linked to the present. Lastly, with "Marianna Ucria" I'd wanted to give the viewer a visionary, unusual and passionate film wherein events dovetail, criss-crossed by a succession of happenings such as weddings, births, the taking of holy orders, hangings, auto-da-fés : a series of disconcerting or totally crazy episodes." (Roberto Faenza)