Omicidio all’italiana: An off-the-wall comedy, but not really
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Maccio Capatonda brings us his second film, in which he makes light of an unhealthy interest in crime stories and the spectacularization of pain. In Italian cinemas from 2 March with Medusa
The comedy of Maccio Capatonda is a lot more subtle than its off-the-wall guise would have us believe. And whilst in his first film, Italiano medio [+see also:
film profile], the Abruzzese filmmaker gave into one swear word too many in portraying the flaws and virtues (but above all the flaws) of his two-faced protagonist, his second film to hit the big screen, Omicidio all’italiana [+see also:
film profile], is a small masterpiece of satire – topical, clear-headed and focused, in which everything is as it should be.
What do Cogne, Avetrana and Novi Ligure (towns sadly known for heinous news stories) have that Acitrullo doesn’t? A dead person, no less. And so the mayor of this fictitious municipality in the middle of the back and beyond of Abruzzo, Piero Peluria (Capatonda), cooks up a plan to improve the lot of his town, which everyone has taken to running away from (there are just 16 inhabitants left) because it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. The plan is to stage, with the help of his brother Marino (Herbert Ballerina), a fake murder, thus drawing the attention of the media, above all an incredibly popular crime show hosted by a steely-eyed Sabrina Ferilli. And so Acitrullo is stormed by journalists looking for a scoop, police investigators willing to do anything to get on TV (Gigio Morra) and, most importantly, unscrupulous tour operators (Ninni Bruschetta in a well-pulled-off cameo) ready to sell all-inclusive dark tourism packages.
With paradoxes, a good dose of nonsense, flashy costumes, and the trademark wordplay of Capatonda’s humour (the film is written in a very precise way and nothing is left to chance), Omicidio all’italiana condemns everything in it to some extent, but most specifically the spectacularisation of pain: “It’s a film about dark tourism and the morbid curiosity of people who go to places where murders have been committed”, states Capatonda, whose real name is Marcello Macchia. “My inspiration came from Isola del Giglio (editor’s note: the setting of the sinking of the Costa Concordia), and some research I then did on Cogne (editor’s note: where little Samuele Lorenzi was killed in 2002). I wrote part of the film there, where I got more than enough to get started from the accounts of the town’s inhabitants”.
This is a film made “to make people aware”, the director continues. “Today we follow crime stories in the news as if they were fictional stories or sport”. In the film, the decision of who is guilty is put to a televised vote, investigations are led first by television programmes and then by the police, and the scene of the crime is ruthlessly contaminated to frame it as best as possible. All that politicians can do, meanwhile, is parrot off clichés. A merciless snapshot of a civilization cut adrift, one in pursuit of perfect Wi-Fi coverage which only believes what the television says and for which the way a story is told is more important than the facts: the first Italian comedy on post-truth politics, all in all. The cast also features Fabrizio Biggio (I soliti idioti [+see also:
film profile]), who is held up as the guilty party only because his skin is slightly darker than everyone else’s, and two actresses who have just been nominated for David di Donatello awards: Roberta Mattei, in the role of the upstanding police officer (the only positive character), and Antonia Truppo, as the bloodthirsty mother.
(Translated from Italian)