Stop the Pounding Heart

You must be logged in to watch films on Festival Scope

Stop the Pounding Heart

Directed by Roberto Minervini

  • USA, Italy, Belgium 2013; 100 min
  • Original version: English
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Golden Dove for Best Film - Dok Leipzig IFF
    • Special Jury Award - Torino IFF
    • Best Film - Filmmaker Festival
    • Special Jury Mention - FICUNAM

  • Cannes IFF - Special Screening

    Toronto IFF - Contemporary World Cinema


Sara is a young girl raised in a family of goat farmers. Her parents homeschool their twelve children, rigorously following the precepts of the Bible. Like her sisters, Sara is taught to be a devout woman, subservient to men while keeping her emotional and physical purity intact until marriage. When Sara meets Colby, a young amateur bull rider, she is thrown into crisis, questioning the only way of life she has ever known. In a stunning portrayal of contemporary America and the insular communities that dot its landscape, STOP THE POUNDING HEART is an exploration of adolescence, family and social values, gender roles, and religion in the rural American South.

Director's Statement

This film touches on so many topics that are relevant to today’s America that it is almost difficult to mention just a few. Of course, religion and faith are very prominent in the film, as they are in the South in general. In many ways, this experience of God, of going back to stricter interpretations of religious ideology, is very endemic to the US. Perhaps insular communities feel the need to hold on tightly to their traditions and values because there is the risk of identities being dissolved. Guns are also a big part of the culture of the South, with deeply held convictions that date back to the nation’s founding. The role of women in family and society is also brought up in the film repeatedly. These are all complicated and controversial issues, and with this film I chose to depict realities that are open to interpretation, rather than further my own personal ideology.




International Sales