Having returned to the Apulia town he had been forced to leave as an adolescent following a violent rebellion against his tyrant father, LUIGI (Fabrizio Bentivoglio), now a mature professor of philosophy at the Milan university, becomes involved in the troubled atmosphere of a world he thought he had left behind forever.
Along with his brothers MICHELE (Emilio Solfrizzi), a mediocre businessman, and MARIO (Paolo Briguglia), eternal student committed to volunteer work, Luigi tries in vain to convince his half-brother ALDO (Massimo Venturiello), violent and womaniser like his father, to sell a family farm that is in a state of semi-abandon.
Never soothed bitterness and old wounds re-emerge that time has not healed, while the brothers, each in his own way, seem entangled in the net that TONINO (Sergio Rubini), sordid money-lender and emerging boss, has wrapped around the whole town.
A mysterious murder during the lugubrious, showy Good Friday procession causes the family conflict to flare up. Each brother suspects the other of the murder and one of them is accused and interrogated by the Carabinieri, but he claims innocence.
In the attempt to establish the truth, Luigi is forced to take over the role of head of the family, in spite of himself. Thus he discovers that he has new energy as well as latent impulses that he always thought he was capable of controlling; he now appears radically changed in the eyes of his wife LAURA (Claudia Gerini), who has turned up in the meantime.
Faced with events that upset him, the “professor” will feel his sense of justice vacillate to the point of no return: his stay in that land will entail a final showdown with his family, his lifetime companion and himself.