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Inspired by true events, Padre Pio's appearance in the remote Italian village known as San Giovanni Rotondo coincides with the end of the First World War, and the community's men are coming back from duty in pieces or not at all. Immediately they are put back to work, where they are exploited by brutal local landowners, which is the cue for a group of free-thinking students to try to galvanize the locals into forming unions and voting for their nascent socialist party in the forthcoming elections (historically, the first free elections to be held in Italy). This does not go down well with the status quo, however, and Padre Pio's fiery quarrels with his faith act as a kind of mood music, creating an ominous tone for the final showdown when the election results come in.