Here follows what Pupi Avati said while shooting the film: “It is an old local legend, one of those stories I heard thousands of times, when children were scared and listened to their granmothers’ tales in dismay“.
At the beginning of the ’60s in a village in the surroundings of Ferrara, a young restorer, Stefano, (Lino Capolicchio) comes here to unveil a fresco portraying Saint Sebastian mrtyrdom painted by a local naïf artist who committed cide thirty years before.
As soon as he arrives, he realizes that his presence is not well accepted and that the plaster partially covering the fresco hides a truth that many people seem scared to disclose. He is then involved in a series of of obscure events and violent deaths, therefore he starts enquirying and comes across several fishy affairs and shady situations carefully hidden in the deepest recesses of the province.
LOCATION The film was mostly shot in Comacchio, its valleys and in southern Polesine.
The sequence of Stefano’s arrival on thr ferry was shot along the Po banks of Porto Tolle and Ca’Venier.
The art nouveau villa where the Legnani sisters live and where Stefano also stays is Villa Boccaccini alla Collinara a San Giuseppe, a hamlet not far from Comacchio. It was built at the beginning of the twentieth century from a farmhouse of the eighteenth century and can still be visited today.
Several sequences were shot in Comacchio, namely in the Loggiato dei Cappuccini (corso Mazzini), in some streets of the city centre and in particular in via E. Fogli: at number 7 it is possible to recognize the facade of Albergo Italia (indoor sequences were shot i Cento) where Stefano stays.
The Valli di Comacchio are the backdrop of several film sequences. A footage was shot at Stazione Foce, where it is still possible to see the house that director Giuliano Montaldo asked as a set prop for L’Agnese va a morire, shot a few months before Avati’s film.