Le Pupille review: A delightful cinematic fable

Italian short ‘Le Pupille’ sees the younglings at a Catholic girls’ orphanage contending with the orthodox routines and teachings of the dogmatic adults.


The young girls at a Catholic orphanage prepare for the forthcoming Christmas eve as they go about their less-than-festive routines. It’s a time of great turbulence and strife in Italy as the Second World War rages on and famine starves many.

Attuned to the overall strife, the girls at the orphanage are treated with grim and gruelling lessons about heaven and hell and what environments the two afterlife realms entail.

When a radio broadcast automatically switches to another station, the girls slowly shed their fears and break out in a pure expression of joy, dancing to the love song before they’re all given a lecture on the sin of singing songs.

Young Serafina doesn’t come forward to get the sin washed off her tongue since she didn’t sing the song. However, unbeknownst to her, merely thinking of the words that were in the songs is a sin, and unfortunately, it’s a catchy song.

Branded as a “wicked” girl by Mother Superior, Serafina eventually justifies not offering her slice of the cake as a sacrifice. Using her guile, she reasons if she’s already wicked, a sacrificial act would be uncharacteristic.

While Mother Superior worries and claims her to be selfish, “a lost sheep”, Serafina shares the scraps of the cake with the rest of the girls.


The young cast of adorable actors imbibes every frame of ‘Le Pupille’ they’re in with copious amounts of cuteness.

However, they’re great actors as well, with Melissa Falasconi delivering a tremendous performance as the wicked little rebel with sharp wits and a big heart.


‘Le Pupille’ is exquisitely shot, with the frames transporting the viewer into the 40’s era Italy, with the editing and the shot selection all working in tandem to recreate times of old.

The music used in the short film brings such a personality and quirk to the story, it’s hard to recreate similar movie magic without it.


The only thing that detracts from the viewing is the lack of it; perhaps not even a feature-length dive into this orphanage and the lives of these young girls would suffice.


‘Le Pupille’ tells the tale of a cold system of zealotry and wing-clipping orthodoxy, where a young soul finds the true Christmas spirit in a little anarchical rebellion and defiance of dogma.

The delightful audio-visual fable is a treat for the eyes and the heart, with plenty of chuckles to boot.

Le Pupille
Le Pupille review: A delightful cinematic fable 1

Director: Alice Rohrwacher

Date Created: 2022-12-16 13:30

Editor's Rating:

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