The trail of blood from Montella to Los Angeles...awaited Cannes

Leonarda is the movie dedicated to the Soap–Maker of Correggio. The young actress and writer Rosaria Cianciulli will tell us about it. 

Leonarda - Trailer (EN) from Rosaria Cianciulli on Vimeo.

"Leonarda  wasn’t just a brutal murderer but also a frightened woman. She was a human being with a turbulent life whom had suffered a lot.” Said Rosaria Cianciulli, a young actress from the South of Italy, when talking about her approach to the role of Leonarda the Soap-Maker of Correggio. The main character, Leonarda Cianciulli, was also born in Montella, Rosaria’s same hometown. She was involved in three murders between 1939 and 1940. After killing the victims with an ax she threw the bodies in a large pot, and then mixing the corpses with caustic soda she turned them into soap and with their blood she made cookies. Rosaria Cianciulli offers an interesting reading of this story which can be seen in her short film. Not long after its completition, Leonarda was immediately accepted in the Short Film Corner section at the  Cannes Film Festival.


"I’ve always dreamed of becoming an actress
- Rosaria Cianciulli tells us - from my first performances in kindergarten. Even though my parents hoped I would change my mind, and choose a ‘normal job’, after graduating from high school I moved to America. First to New York, then to Los Angeles. There I graduated with honor with a BFA in Acting for Film and Television at the New York Film Academy."

It was in America that the young actress decided to give life to the idea of bringing to the screen the story of the serial killer born in her hometown. She explains "to graduate the school required to make a short film and that is how I had the idea of Leonarda, which was written, produced and performed by me. Ten minutes to tell the story of the Soap Maker."

A story of great charm. Leonarda Cianciulli killed three women. In her memoir she tells that she did it because moved by "mother's love". This is what also inspired  the short film. "She had a turbulent childhood - Rosaria tells us - she stole, prostituted herself and witnessed the death of several people. She stated that her mother, when lying on her deathbed, had cursed her children, saying that none of them would reach adulthood. Out of 17 pregnancies only 4 children survived. She was afraid, and she feared for her children’s life. That is why she constantly consulted witches and fortune tellers. At the same time she was also very religious. That is how she found the strength to kill. She saw her crimes as a sacrifice, which she dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, asking in return to save her children.

Rosaria's approach to the story was not to tell mere events, but to show the audience the emotional journey of a human being. The director and editor of this short film is Luca Brinciotti. The interpreters along with Rosaria Cianciulli are Luca RiemmaBetty Franchi and Jonathan Lansky"It was in Los Angeles - concludes the actress - and it was a great opportunity for us to talk about our homeland. This is one of the reasons why the film was shot in Italian and partly in Montellese, an Italian dialect, to preserve the authenticity of the story."

Thank's to

Leonarda Official Fan Page