A 12-year-old girl, Annarella Bracci, was raped and killed in the popular borough of Primavalle, Rome, one of the age-old cross-roads of Italy, at the time it was going through major construction and road development projects.
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Three minutes shorter in the 5-min extant version, Visconti's chronicle of a teenage girl's brutal rape and murder in rural Italy, has all the ingredients, needed to make it evocative, socially conscious yet free of moralizing. Genuinely cinematic, for both its scant close ups in the nearly deserted community and the long shots that capture the vacant spaces which the girl has traversed, it's a minor gem of a genius.