“Viola di Mare” follows a best friendship-turned-relationship between two women


A new lesbian film, Viola di Mare (Sea Purple), is generating a lot of buzz lately, having just picked up the NICE City of Florence award last week at the San Francisco Film Society’s New Italian Cinema festival. Directed by Donatella Maiorca, it is set in 19th century Sicily and revolves around Angela (Valeria Solarino) and her attraction to her best friend Sara (Isabella Ragonese).

When the women start becoming a little more than friends, Angela’s old fashioned father locks her away in a cellar, insisting she marry one of his male workers and wishes his daughter would have been born a boy so he wouldn’t have to deal with the fact that she’s gay.

This gives Angela’s mother, upset about her daughter being locked up, a pretty great idea: Angela should just be trans — and become Angelo. Dad’s problem solved!

Here’s the trailer:

In a recent interview, Maiorca says Viola di Mare is about much more than sexuality:

It’s not only a story about homosexuality, it’s also a story of freedom and also a story on women identity.

What’s perhaps most intriguing about the film, other than its beautiful Italian stars, is that it’s based on a true story, adapted from the novel Minchia di Re by Giacomo Pilati.

“It’s something important … that this was a true story [in the] 19th-century,” Maiorca said. “It has become a current topic today.”

I’m wondering if Angela/Angelo’s dad accepts his gay daughter becoming his straight son. It’s one thing if Angela decided to transition on her own (certainly, as Maiorca said, a current topic), but it seems a great length to go to appease an unhappy parent.

Were any of you lucky enough to catch Viola di Mare yet — or do you plan to when it comes to your city? (Thanks to Jenni for the tip!)

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