In «Swinging Rome» from 1969, BELLADONNA tells a story of pop witchcraft. Between jazzy giallo, gothic dolce vita and macabre eroticism, follow the adventure of Nella, a young woman like the others, who will face the darkness and reveal her true nature.
Rome, 1969. Nella, a reserved young woman, leads a monotonous existence : looking for a job, she shares a small studio with her partner Alberto. Neglected by him, born of an unknown mother, she suffers from an unhealthy fear of abandonment. She is hired as a personal assistant to Belladonna, a wealthy jet-setter who comes to spend the summer in Rome. This mysterious woman, with a magnetic charm, always accompanied by a court of eccentric characters, tilts Nella into a baroque universe, dedicated to pleasures and sleepless nights.
Little by little, the shy Nella gains self-confidence, leaves Alberto and settles in the sumptuous villa of her boss. During a strange evening in a nightclub, Nella, perhaps unwittingly drugged, believes she sees the dance floor turn into a real Sabbath scene. Torn between the fear and the attraction she feels for Belladonna, she gradually plunges into a world where fantasies and reality merge.
One night, Belladonna, as usual, comes home with a man and a woman, lovers for one night. Nella witnesses their killing in a gruesome ritual. Is she the victim of a hallucination? Or is Belladonna a bloodthirsty murderer ?
PROFUMO DI MISTERO
Nella plays detective. She follows the scary Cicerone, Belladonna's trusted man. She observes him visiting cemeteries and nursing homes, presumably looking for someone. Later, she finds out from the employment office that Belladonna was determined to hire her and no one else. Nella goes to the Central Library of Rome. In the archives, she finds nothing about Belladonna, except for a photo from 1919 where her face looks as young as it does today.
One evening, Belladonna, accompanied by new lovers, reproduces her ritual of death. Nella intervenes in vain. Fearing for her life, she stabs Belladonna in the heart. But she seems insensitive to the steel blade, which she slowly withdraws from her chest. In a soft voice, she reveals her secret to the terrified young woman. Belladonna is a witch who draws her immortality from the blood of her young victims. Bewitched, Nella follows her in her bed. In the early morning, she gets up, in love, spellbound, unable to react.
In a moment of lucidity, Nella phones Alberto who does not believe a word of what she is telling him. Cicerone, who overheard the conversation, threatens her with a razor. She runs away. An distressing chase begins in the gardens of Villa Borghese. She manages to get into the Etruscan museum and, taking advantage of the darkness, pushes her attacker over a balustrade. Before dying, Cicerone swallows a piece of paper out of his pocket. Nella extracts the message from his bloody mouth. In the moonlight, she reads these few words: Gemella Institute, room 213.
At this address, she discovers a dilapidated institute, run by nuns. Room 213 is occupied by an elderly woman who, according to the sisters, has not said a word for years. Seeing him, the old woman murmurs her first name: "Nella ...". The upset young woman then realizes that she has found her mother, who tells her in a hollow voice that she was Belladonna's companion. She shared her hexes and rituals of immortality until she fell in love with a man with whom she had a child: Nella. Fleeing the jealousy of the witch, who had murdered her lover, she had to abandon her daughter to protect her and took refuge in this asylum, hidden from all. Before retreating into silence again, the recluse reveals to her daughter the location of an ancient crypt housing a relic capable of destroying Belladonna's powers.
LA CRIPTA NASCOSTA
When she arrives there, the crypt seems to have disappeared. In front of her lies a huge construction site from which rise modern buildings frozen in the night. Nella climbs a gate and wanders among the excavators and rubble. Behind a metal door, she discovers a stone staircase plunging into darkness. In the half-light, she distinguishes the remains of a medieval chapel where, on a pedestal, sits an old dagger covered with occult inscriptions.
ADDIO STREGA !
Emerging from nowhere, Belladonna stands in front of her. The witch invites her to become his companion, as her mother once was. Cornered, Nella resists the temptation before giving him a violent stab. The witch collapses and in her agony, a sad smile on her lips, she whispers "all is well", before taking her last breath. Free for the first time, Nella, her hands stained with blood, hugs Belladonna's corpse. Has she turn into a witch herself ?