The Catholic School ending explained: How did the Circeo massacre happen?

The Catholic School is an Italian drama based on the true story of the crime known as “The Circeo Massacre” that took place in September 1975. The film is now streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

The Catholic School begins with an ominous scene, in which a girl in a car cries for help while a boy walks away. Then we’re transported back to six months before the tragedy.

Edoardo narrates the incident that affected everyone and how their education, neighborhood, and school were never the same after that.

In 1975, Edoardo is in his junior year at a private high school that does not admit girls. They are all boys raised in a middle-class Rome area. Edoardo introduces the boys from the Catholic school as they exercise near a swimming pool.

Angelo’s younger brother, Salvatore, is one of his classmates. Then there’s Picchiatello, also known as Pik, whose mother was an actress before she gave birth to him. Arbus is the smartest, considered a prodigy, and is admired by all students.

One day, D’Avenia admits observing the seniors, Gianni and Angelo, bullying Romoli. Gianni and his father are summoned by the headmaster for breaking the rules and bullying a student. To settle the dispute, his father proposes a donation for the upcoming holy easter.

Back home, his father beats him up for embarrassing himself in front of the headmaster and warns him not to do it again. All of the boys’ lives are filled with restrictions. If they break them, they are occasionally punished; other times, nothing happens.

In the Arbus family, it was the opposite; his father taught mathematical logic at the university and was more interested in his pupils than in his children. Arbus later discovers that his father fled the house because he is homosexual.

One morning, all the students attend Professor Golgota’s class, where they discuss the artwork of Jesus being beaten by men. He educates them on the positive and negative aspects of human life. That night, all of the students assemble and decide to recreate the artwork they saw in the morning class.

Angelo and Gianni turn D’Avenia into Jesus and beat him up for snitching on them. They demand he abandon his religion and God. Gioacchino intervenes and escorts him to the dorm. To be accepted by their peers, they had to demonstrate that they were actually men. If they failed, they would be permanently marked, just like D’Avenia.

The Catholic School ending explained in detail:

How did Angelo and Gianni meet Donatella and Rosaria?

When one of their friends, Gian Pietro, shows up late to meet them, he reveals that he had met two lovely girls in Montagnola and offered them a ride home. Angelo and Gianni force him to introduce the girls, and Gianni proudly shows them that he’s got their phone numbers.

Gianni, Angelo, and Gian finally meet the girls for lunch. They discover that, instead of Nadia, Donatella has invited her neighbor Rosaria to hang out with them. Gian is disappointed that Nadia did not show up and does not interact with them. Meanwhile, Angelo intends to see a film with Donatella and Rosaria the next time they meet.

What happens when Donatella and Rosaria are invited to the villa?

Angelo and Gianni meet Donatella and Rosaria as planned. They make up a story that Gian will meet them at the villa. So instead of going to the cinema, they take the girls to the villa.

After spending a few hours at the place, the girls decide to return home, but Gianni and Angelo forcibly lock them in a room. Gianni returns home since his strict father expects him to be home for dinner. He calls Angelo’s father and lies about his whereabouts.

Later that night, Angelo and Gianni rape and torture the girls. They also invite Andrea Ghira, one of their buddies who was recently released from prison. For days, they rape and beat the girls until they are unconscious. They leave the villa after getting weary of them and labeling them useless.

Donatella acts as if she is unconscious when they put the girls in the trunk. Angelo and Gianni leave the car outside Gianni’s house and agree to meet later that night. In the trunk of the car, Donatella finds out that Rosaria is dead and screams for help. Before Angelo can flee, he is captured by the police.

Did the perpetrators receive punishment for their crimes?

The quiet little neighborhood changed after the tragedy. People were distrustful, and no one felt safe. At the time of the Circeo massacre, rape was not considered a crime against the person but against public morality.

Rosaria Lopez’s death and the torture of Donatella Colasanti ignited a debate that only concluded in 1996 when sexual violence was finally considered a crime against the person. The three perpetrators of the massacre were all given life sentences.

Angelo Izzo, as soon as he was released on parole for good conduct in 2005, killed two more women. Andrea Ghira died in Morocco in 1994 after eluding arrest and having lived all his life as a fugitive. Thanks to a sentence reduction, Gianni Guido has been free since 2009.

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