Stop the Pounding Heart

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    Stop the Pounding Heart

    Directed by

    USA, Italy, Belgium


    100 min

    • English


    Cannes IFF - Special ScreeningToronto 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.


    • Golden Dove for Best Film - Dok Leipzig IFF
    • Special Jury Award - Torino IFF
    • Best Film - Filmmaker Festival
    • Special Jury Mention - FICUNAM



    Sara Carlson
    Colby Trichell
    Leeanne Carlson
    Roberto Minervini
    Diego Romero-Suarez Llanos
    Marie-Hélène Dozo

    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.



    Minervini’s achievement in this quietly impressive film is to let us see what’s exceptional, rather than just odd.

    Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

    Roberto Minervini

    Roberto Minervini


    My work is the result of a laborious and unconventionally (un)structured process, which is highly experiential and very personal. It is what I call 'Artisanal Cinema'

    Roberto Minervini is an Italian born, US-based film director, writer and lecturer. He holds a Master in Media Studies from the New School University, New York, and is pursuing a Phd in Cinema history at the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, Spain. He lives and works between Italy and the United States.

    Selected Filmography