The amazing success of the film “La Scuola Cattolica”

September 22, 2022475 min

For years, the press has been reporting on sexist and sexual violence. The movie “La Scuola Cattolica”, available on Netflix, is a sensation. Based on a sordid crime, considered one of the worst crimes in modern Italian history, it tells the story of the kidnapping, rape and torture of two young girls by three high school students.

Launched at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, La Scuola Cattolica is directed by Stefano Mordini, known in France for Le Témoin invisible. La Scuola Cattolica was released in Italy only, and it is only since September 14, 2022 that the world can discover it on Netflix. In its cast, we find some well-known faces like Valeria Golino and Riccardo Scamarcio, but they play secondary roles.

Therefore, La Scuola Cattolica focuses on the implementation of a horrible crime perpetrated by three young Roman boys from the bourgeoisie, on two girls, Donatella Colasanti and Rosaria Lopez, from the lower classes of society.

For almost two days, between September 29 and 30, 1975, the two girls, aged 17 and 19, were lured to a seaside villa in San Felipe Circeo under the pretext of a party. They were kidnapped by Andrea Ghira, Gianni Guido and Angelo Izzo. The three young men make them live a real hell, raping them several times and making them undergo tortures. Rosaria Lopez dies under the blows of her aggressors, but Donatella Colasanti, pretending to be dead, survives. Locked in the trunk of a car, she is saved in extremis, the three men having planned to dispose of her body later.

Andrea Ghira, Gianni Guido and Angelo Izzo are played by Giulio Pranno, Francesco Cavallo and Luca Vergoni. Donatella Colasanti is played by Benedetta Porcaroli and Rosaria Lopez by Federica Torchetti.

The film, Scuola Cattolica, opens with the end of the story, when Donatella’s cry for help is heard from the trunk of a car. Then the film goes back in time, with a voice-over to tell how the three boys, from the bourgeoisie and attending a Catholic high school, come to commit this unspeakable horror. Stefano Mordini makes a census of different driving forces: the hyper-sexualization of society and the machismo of men, the celebration of suffering and punishment, the fascination for death and sadism…

La Scuola Cattolica is not the first work to be based on this story. In fact, it is the adaptation of the novel of the same name by Edoardo Albinati, released in 2016. On the film side, there are at least Violence in Rome and Like mad dogs, released in 1976 and directly inspired by the Circeo massacre.

In all platforms, Internet users have posted their reactions to this show considered “traumatic”. Above all, the true story told and its judicial consequences have frozen the blood of many. Indeed, the three men, also neo-fascist activists, managed to escape justice in part following their various crimes. A painful illustration of the place of men and women in the world at that time, that La Scuola Cattolica resonates with the world of today since its release on Netflix.

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