In Prison Awaiting Trial

In Prison Awaiting Trial (Italian: Detenuto in attesa di giudizio) is a 1971 Italian drama film directed by Nanni Loy. It was entered into the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival where Alberto Sordi won the Silver Bear for Best Actor award.[1]

In Prison Awaiting Trial
(Detenuto in attesa di giudizio)
Film poster
Directed byNanni Loy
Produced byGianni Hecht Lucari
Fausto Saraceni
Written bySergio Amidei
Emilio Sanna
StarringAlberto Sordi, Lino Banfi
Music byCarlo Rustichelli
CinematographySergio D'Offizi
Edited byFranco Fraticelli
Release date
  • 1971 (1971)
Running time
102 minutes


Roman surveyor Giuseppe Di Noi, who moved to Sweden for years, married to a Swedish woman and respected professional, decides to take on holiday in Italy his family. At the Italian border he is stopped and arrested without any explanation. After three days in jail in Milan, he learns - through the efforts of a guard - that he has been charged with "manslaughter" of a German citizen. Giuseppe is deemed a "fugitive" and thus ineligible for house arrest; he is instead transferred from prison to prison until the imaginary town of Sagunto (near Salerno), where he gets placed in solitary confinement.

Di Noi undergoes a genuine judicial ordeal, full of humiliations. The nightmare continues far beyond any expectations. The investigating magistrate scolds him. He gets unwillingly involved in a riot, and ends up as a result transferred to a prison for inmates serving life sentences, and ultimately to a psychiatric facility. It takes the obstinacy of his wife, the passionate interest of his lawyer and the benevolence of the investigating magistrate otherwise on vacation, to arrive at a logical explanation.

While recovered at the hospital, Di Noi's lawyer learns about a highway viaduct Battipaglia-Matera - built years before by an Italian firm where he was employed as a surveyor - which collapsed and caused the death of a German driver in transit. The protagonist had subsequently moved to Sweden. Lacking international communications, he could not be notified a subpoena, and therefore technically became a fugitive. Even after regaining in the end his freedom, the poor surveyor remains irrevocably marked by the ordeal, both physically and psychologically.



  1. "Berlinale 1972: Prize Winners". Retrieved 16 March 2010.

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