Purple Sea
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Purple Sea

Italy, 2009, 105 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Biography / History, Drama, Gender, Gender Queer, Lesbian, Transgender
Program: World Cinema
Language: Italian

DIRECTOR: Donatella Maiorca

Donatella Maiorca’s sensuous melodrama Purple Sea explores the old-world European tradition of women passing as men. Based on a true story, this taut epic is as intricate as Italian lace.

In 19th century Sicily, rebellious Angela is considered to be possessed by evil and must endure brutal beatings by her father, the authoritarian quarry master. When her best friend Sara is forcefully transferred to the mainland, Angela is left in the dreary village. Years pass and Sara returns. Their childhood friendship deepens and eventually they give in to their shared passion for one another.

When Angela’s father insists she marry a successful quarry worker, she defiantly refuses, stating that she will marry Sara instead. Her father responds by imprisoning her in the cellar, where other family secrets are buried. Fearing the loss of her only child, Angela’s mother blackmails the town priest and offers her father the son he always wanted; Angela must become Angelo. As a man, she is free to marry Sara and assume her father’s commanding position. The village is forced to accept the union or risk losing favor with the powerful church and possibly, jobs at the quarry.

Struggling to shed her identity as a woman, Angela benevolently wields her newfound power, but in order to give Sara the child they both long for, she must cope with the jealousy and tragedy that threatens their love. — HOLLY ROACH

Text Voting Code: F136

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Italian Cultural Institute



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