Puck — “The river, no! The river, that’s enough! We must forget it, the river … They tell us to say hello, they order us to say hello! … They will come here with cars, they will come here with their dredges. There will be different men. and the noise of the engines … Who will take care of picking them up so that the poplars don’t freeze? There will be nothing left. There will be no more summer, no more winter … It’s over for you too. Stand aside! Stand back! Sink that boat of yours! Oh yes, I speak for you too! We will no longer fish pike together. Neither will carp, we will fish. Enough, the coots … Enough, the flight of the wild geese … My friends, do you see? Life ends here and survival begins. So goodbye, Lombard Pond, hello. Hello, rifle. Hello, river. And hello, Puck.”


“Only those who lived before the revolution knew how sweet life could be.”

Epigraph of the film, attributed to Talleyrand

Fabrizio, a 20-year-old Marxist from a wealthy Parma family, is determined to break off relations with his class, which also includes his girlfriend, Clelia. The probable suicide of his friend Agostino, causes a crisis in him that only Gina, his young Milanese aunt, who came to rest with her sister following a depression, senses and understands. The two, although profoundly different, love each other in secret, until the passion of their relationship is extinguished, partly due to his inability to manage her neuroses.

Left alone, Fabrizio tries to resolve his inner conflicts by discussing with Cesare, a teacher who has been his ideological guide for years. The two go around the Ducal Park together on the occasion of the Festa dell’Unità, when the young man seems to lose his last illusions in the face of the mediocrity of the petty bourgeois model now offered by the party: “The people blindly accept what they are given. Fear … You see, I wanted a new man, a humanity of children who were fathers for their fathers “. Considering himself defeated, Fabrizio just has to give up all revolutionary ambitions and return, resigned, to the comfort of his bourgeois roots, marrying the blonde and “good” Clelia.