Sabina Guzzanti investigates in La trattativa
by Camillo de Marco
- VENICE 2014: The film, which chronicles the negotiations between the state and the mafia, garnered enthusiastic applause; it opens on 1 October, distributed by BIM
The alleged negotiations between the Italian state and the mafia – one of the most complex events in the country's recent history – are at the centre of Sabina Guzzanti's film La trattativa [+see also:
film profile], presented out of competition at the Venice Film Festival and met with a long round of applause by the press.
A 1970 short film by Elio Petro about the death of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli inspired the basic concept of staging the film like an inquiry: a group of performers tells stories, reenacts situations, dresses up to impersonate different characters, in some sort of theatrical transposition. During the press interviews, director Guzzanti explained: “It's a mechanism that allows you to switch between fiction and documentary in a very harmonious way, and that provides you with a lot of creative freedom.” As director, actor and producer, she has worked her way through an enormous bulk of documents: pleadings, newspaper articles, books, and audio and video recordings. Everything that is said in the film has been rigorously supervised and verified with the help of journalist Giorgio Mottola. “The goal is to enable anyone – even those who don't read newspapers or essays – to understand what this is all about. To be able to make everybody aware of the facts that have changed the course of our democracy,” states Guzzanti.
Using reenactments, archival footage and documents, the film dissects the alleged concessions the state has made to the Sicilian mafia organisations in exchange for them stopping the massacres in the early nineties, and it examines the murders of judges Falcone and Borsellino, and the exposure of the people who collaborated with the Justice department, the so-called “mafia informers”. A long section is dedicated to the relationship between Silvio Berlusconi and the Cosa Nostra. Director Guzzanti concludes: “Where has this Italy come from that we are looking at now, a country governed by institutions that are afraid of democracy?”
(Translated from Italian)