Nikita Merlini – Rondinella

Staying with her mother after the fire, Sofia dreams of freedom. But the smell of smoke doesn't leave..

Diploma project (2020) by Nikita Merlini

Very Good

Fiction / 24 min / Mention Very good


After their house burns down, 18-year-old Sofia and her mother Carla have to live together in a small room at « The Little Swallow Hotel ». Sofia explores the building and meets new inspiring people. A thousand opportunities seem to open up for her. Carla, on the other hand, has to get used to the idea of her daughter leaving. In this closed-door environment, mother and daughter try to find a new balance in their relationship.


A mother and her daughter in a hotel room, a few meters from what was their house... gone up in smoke, taking their common past with them. 

The film, like a parenthesis in this place of transit that is "La Rondinella", where strangers meet and make memories, spaces of intimacy, a place where Sofia and her mother seek to rebuild, with the fragility and awkwardness that characterize the love that binds a daughter to her mother.

Nikita invests the enclosed space by the character, Sofia, formidably interpreted by Elena Stoll, who bewitches us by her presence, her face at the same time babyish and feminine, and with whom Nikita continues his collaboration. Sofia draws us into her boredom, her expectations, her encounters, her solitary wanderings, but above all into her impulse for life and renewal. For Rondinella is also the portrait of this youth, full of dreams and obstacles. 

Nikita Merlini directs a sensitive, delicate, hypnotic film that seizes time. This vulnerable time. The time of childhood. The time of emancipation. The time of suffocating, yet unfailing love. 

Elsa Amiel / Director