TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Small Body

Laura Samani, Elisa Dondi



Early 20th Century. Famine spreads in a North-East Italy lagoon. Agata is 17 and gives birth to her first child, but the baby is born dead. Stillborn babies cannot be baptised. Their souls will be stuck forever in Limbo. Agata’s life should go on, but she cannot forget her daughter and wants to name her. A rumour about a miracle reaches her ears: in a sanctuary in the mountains stillborn babies come back to life, just enough time for one breath.
Agata embarks on a dangerous journey to the sanctuary with her daughter’s body in a box. She is in strange territory and needs the support of someone who is familiar with it. She meets Vida, a wild tough girl dressed as a boy, who is not a believer. She can help, but she wants something in return and asks Agata for her box.
Agata accepts the trade but Vida can only have it when they reach the sanctuary. The lie Agata has told her grows during their journey, as does their relationship. Will it survive, once the cover of the box is removed?


This is a story about those things we are not able to let go of, not even when they stop breathing.
There was a time when mothers were willing to do anything. They embarked on long journeys to reach the so-called sanctuaries of truce. There were children who did not deserve hell, but they were not worthy enough to have access to heaven. Their sin was that of being born breathless. Their fate was to stay in the mists of Limbo forever.
Agata is one of those mothers. The small body of her daughter is lifeless, but she does not grieve for long. She digs her up to carry her with her. Led by a desperate love, Agata defies the inescapable laws of the world and of nature itself: that the dead must be separated from the living. Agata faces the mysterious line between harsh reality and what can only be imagined: a miracle.
This movie is a crude fairytale, containing two opposite – and at the same time connected – aspects: ferocious realism and elements of magic. In a very tactile world, made of misery, hunger, fear and violence, magic bursts through thanks to Agata’s actions and her will to transcend the finite things around us in order to look for an Afterlife.


I see things others can’t see, So for you I will not grieve. Time for one breath is all I need to speak your name and find my peace.
Laura Samani

Scriptwriter, Film Director

Elisa Dondi

Writer, Scriptwriter

production notes

original title
Piccolo Corpo

directed by
Laura Samani

produced byNefertiti Film
Via P. Amalteo, 68 B
33078, San Vito Al Tagliamento

written by
Laura Samani
Elisa Dondi