Bologna 1938. Michele Casali (Silvio Orlando) has a serious problem. His only daughter, Giovanna (Alba Rohrwacher), has just killed her best friend in a bout of jealousy. The girl, who is still an adolescent, is declared to be non compus mentis and is committed to a psychiatric hospital. During the time she spends in almost total isolation, the only person who looks after her is her father. This further strengthens the already strong father-daughter relationship from which Delia, the girls mother, has always been excluded. Sergio (Ezio Greggio), who is a police inspector and a close friend of Micheles, is witness to the terrible events. He is also secretly in love with Delia (Francesca Neri). In the winter of 1953, in a Bologna which is still recovering from the horrors of the war, Delia and Giovannas eyes lock in the darkness of a small cinema: Giovanna is by now much better and still in the company of her doting father. Her mother no longer has any doubts: this is the start of a new life, this time, together.