Stay With Me, Sister
Two women trapped by social norms in the early 20th century dare to dream of emancipation
After the Spanish Flu, Anita finds herself in a vulnerable situation. Orphaned, she works in a newspaper with her stepmother’s son, who resents her for her intelligence and stature. Caught stealing money, he should go to prison, but then who would provide for the rest of the family? They would starve on her meagre salary. Anita confesses to a crime she did not commit and is sentenced to years of labor in the female prison of Giudecca. The Venetian women’s prison, guarded by nuns, reveals itself to be almost a haven as Fascism rages in the real world.
Anita forges an odd and intimate friendship with Noemi. Neither Noemi nor the nuns ever reveal Noemi’s crime. Convinced that she has “the devil inside”, they warn Anita to keep her distance. But a bond is born between the women, one that defies social order.
Circumscribed to the stone walls that surround them, Anita and Noemi dream of a future without a husband or a father to protect them. Anita, whose sentence ends first, will wait for Noemi and they will open a tailor shop together. But when the day of her friend’s release arrives, Anita discovers Noemi’s secret. And that the forces of reality prove to be fiercer and less forgiving than their love for each other.