Franco Maresco signs his name to La mafia non è più quella di una volta, a new anthropological study of Sicily
by Vittoria Scarpa
- The director of Belluscone. Una storia siciliana returns to the Venice Film Festival, competing with his new film which features a cast led by Letizia Battaglia and Ciccio Mira
“A new chapter of Maresco’s anthropological study of Palermo and Sicily; a work which sets itself apart through its capacity to provoke and which doesn’t stint on grotesque and exhilarating twists and turns”. These are the words used by the director Alberto Barbera to describe La mafia non è più quella di una volta [+see also:
film profile], the new film by Franco Maresco due to be presented in competition at the 76th Venice Film Festival (28 August – 7 September).
Leading the cast of the title - which is produced by Rean Mazzone on behalf of Ila Palma Dream Film and Tramp Lmd, and which is co-financed by the Sicilian Region - are photographer Letizia Battaglia and Ciccio Mira, the neomelodic music impresario who also played a starring role in Belluscone. Una storia siciliana [+see also:
film profile], a film selected for the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival in 2014. Others starring in this artistic cast include piazza party organiser Matteo Mannino, neomelodic singer Cristian Miscel and photographer Franco Zecchin.
La mafia non è più quella di una volta was written by Franco Maresco and Claudia Uzzo, in collaboration with Francesco Guttuso and Giuliano La Franca. It was in 2017, twenty-five years after the Capaci and via D’Amelio bombings, that Maresco decided to make a new film. This was inspired by a recent work of his, dedicated to Letizia Battaglia, the eighty-something photographer who used her art to tell the tale of the mafia wars, and who was described by the New York Times as one of “eleven women who have made their mark on the modern world”. Maresco felt the need to include a figure from the other side of the divide alongside Letizia: Ciccio Mira, who also starred in Belluscone. Una storia siciliana in 2014. This “legendary” piazza party organiser seems to have changed in the few years since the previous film was shot; it may be that he seeks redemption, both as a man and a manager, to the point of organising an extraordinary event in Palermo’s ZEN district: “Neomelodic singers in support of Falcone and Borsellino”. And yet his words also seem to betray a certain nostalgia for “the mafia of times gone by”. Meanwhile, as they visit the various celebratory events held in memory of the anti-mafia martyrs, the extent of Maresco’s disenchantment is rivalled only by the passion shown by Battaglia in her work.
(Translated from Italian)
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