Mafia

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“Mafia” is a italian thriller film of 1968 directed by Damiano Damiani, based on the homonymous novel by Leonardo Sciascia. The film is considered a classic of Italian cinema and deals with issues related to the mafia and corruption in the socio-political context of Italy in the 1960s.

The plot of the film takes place in Sicily, where a high-ranking government official, Dr. Roscio, is killed in an ambush. Commissioner Bellodi, played by Franco Nero, is assigned to investigate the murder. Bellodi is a man of integrity and an idealist from northern Italy who seeks to fight corruption and organized crime.

During the investigation, Bellodi discovers that the murder of Dr. Roscio is just a piece of a corrupt power system colluded with the local mafia. His determination to unearth the truth puts him on a collision course with the powerful political and business interests that dominate the region.

The film deals with the theme of silence, the culture of silence that allows the mafia to flourish. Bellodi tries to convince witnesses to speak, but collides with widespread fear among the population, which has learned not to trust the institutions and to live in indifference.

“Il giorno della civetta” offers a raw and realistic representation of the Italian society of the time, highlighting the pervasiveness of the mafia and its impact on people’s daily lives. The film is known for its fidelity to Sciascia’s novel and for the powerful performance of Franco Nero as Inspector Bellodi.

Thanks to his commitment and tenacity, Bellodi manages to unmask the corruption system and arrest some members of the mafia. However, the film does not offer a definitive solution to the problem, underlining that the fight against the mafia requires constant effort and the involvement of the whole of society.

“Mafia” is an important film in the panorama of Italian cinema, both for its artistic quality and for its social message. It deals with complex and current issues, emphasizing the need to fight corruption and silence in order to build a more just and equitable society.

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Plot

Mafia

The plot of “Mafia” takes place in Sicily in the 60s. Police Commissioner Bellodi, played by Franco Nero, is sent to a small Sicilian town to investigate the murder of a high-ranking government official, Dr. Roscio.

Bellodi is an honest and idealistic man from northern Italy, who seeks to do justice and fight corruption. However, he is faced with a system of power colluding with the local mafia, where fear and silence prevent people from testifying or collaborating with the authorities.

During his investigation, Bellodi discovers that Dr. Roscio was conducting an investigation into corruption and illegal activities involving the local mafia and some powerful businessmen. As he delves into the case, the commissioner suspects that the murder of Dr. Roscio was organized by precisely those people who were afraid that the truth would emerge.

Despite opposition and hostility from the powerful interests involved, Bellodi tries to get witnesses to speak up and reveal the truth. He comes across the distrust of the population, who have learned to live in indifference and silence to avoid retaliation from the mafia.

As his investigation continues, Bellodi begins to be threatened and pressured to drop the case. However, his commitment and determination to do justice do not waver. He manages to collect some evidence directly linking the mafia to the murder of Dr. Roscio.

In the climate of growing tension, Bellodi finally manages to have some members of the mafia arrested and to unmask the system of corruption that permeates society. Despite its limited success, the film underlines the need for a constant and collective fight against the mafia and corruption.

The storyline of “Mafia” highlights the hardships and challenges a man of integrity faces when faced with a corrupt and mafia-ridden system. The film denounces the silence and indifference that allow the mafia to flourish and invites reflection on the responsibility of each individual in combating these forms of crime.

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Movie Characters

Mafia

Here are some of the main characters in the film “Mafia”:

  1. Commissario Bellodi (played by Franco Nero): The protagonist of the film, is a police commissioner from northern Italy. He is a man of integrity and an idealist, determined to do justice and to unmask the corruption that permeates Sicilian society.
  2. Doctor Roscio: He’s the high-ranking government official who is killed at the beginning of the film. He was involved in an investigation into corruption and illegal activities involving the local mafia and powerful businessmen.
  3. Rosa Nicolosi (played by Claudia Cardinale): She is the wife of a mafia man and is involved in the investigation of Commissioner Bellodi. Rosa represents the internal conflict between his connection to the mafia and his moral conscience.
  4. Don Mariano Arena (played by Lee J. Cobb): He is an influential businessman connected to the Mafia and one of the main antagonists of the film. He engages in illegal activities and corruption and does everything possible to protect his interests.
  5. Maresciallo Livigni (played by Serge Reggiani): He is Bellodi’s superior. He too is an honest character, but he is forced to work in a corrupt system. He supports Bellodi in his investigation, but is also aware of the challenges they face.
  6. Doctor Velardi (played by Tino Carraro): He is a corrupt doctor who is part of the power system colluded with the mafia. He is involved in the investigations of Commissioner Bellodi.

These are just some of the main characters in the film, but there are also other characters who help paint the overall picture of Sicilian society that is corrupt and at the mercy of the mafia.

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Production

Mafia

“Mafia” is a 1968 Italian film directed by Damiano Damiani. The production of the film was handled by Doria Cinematografica and Rizzoli Film, two important Italian production houses of the time.

Director Damiano Damiani adapted the film’s screenplay based on the novel of the same name written by Leonardo Sciascia in 1961. Sciascia, one of the most famous Italian writers of the 20th century, was known for his works dealing with social and political issues, often related to mafia and corruption.

The choice of actors was fundamental to the success of the film. The role of Commissioner Bellodi was played by Franco Nero, who gave the character a strong charge of integrity and determination. Other notable actors in the cast include Claudia Cardinale as Rosa Nicolosi and Lee J. Cobb as Don Mariano Arena.

The cinematography was handled by Roberto Gerardi, who helped create the dark and realistic atmosphere of the film. The soundtrack was composed by Giovanni Fusco, who was able to effectively underline the tensions and dramatic moments of the story.

“Mafia” was filmed in different locations in Sicily, which helped to create the film’s authentic and evocative setting. Photography has enhanced the landscapes and characteristic views of the island, but also its contradictions and the sense of oppression that the mafia exerted on the population.

The film was received positively by critics and achieved good success with the public. It is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian cinema of the 1960s and helped bring the issue of the mafia and corruption in Italy to international attention.

The production of “Il giorno della civetta” was important in the Italian film scene, as it offered a courageous and realistic representation of the country’s social and economic problems. The film demonstrated the ability of Italian cinema to address complex issues and to reflect on the injustices and contradictions of society.

Distribution and Reception

“Il giorno della civetta” was released in Italian cinemas in 1968. The film received positive reception from both critics and the public.

Thanks to its gripping storyline and strong social commentary, the film aroused great interest and helped consolidate Damiano Damiani’s reputation as a committed and talented director. In particular, the film was praised for its fidelity to Sciascia’s novel and for Franco Nero’s powerful performance as Inspector Bellodi.

“Mafia” has received several awards. In 1969, the film won the Nastro d’Argento for best production design and the David di Donatello for best leading actor, awarded to Franco Nero. Furthermore, Damiano Damiani was nominated for the David di Donatello for best director.

Internationally, the film participated in various film festivals, gaining good international exposure. It received praise for its intense storytelling and social relevance, drawing attention to issues such as corruption and mafia power.

“Il giorno della civetta” has become a classic of Italian cinema and has continued to be appreciated over the years. His influence also extended beyond Italy’s borders, influencing the Italian crime genre and the way Italian cinema addressed social and political issues.

Overall, the distribution of “Il giorno della civetta” was a success and the film left a lasting imprint on the Italian film scene, helping to raise public awareness of corruption and mafia issues and consolidating director Damiano Damiani’s reputation as prominent figure in Italian cinema.

Style

The style of “Mafia” is characterized by a realistic and raw narration, which reflects the harshness and complexity of the themes addressed in the film. Damiano Damiani, the director, uses a sober and measured approach to tell the story, avoiding sensationalist or melodramatic effects.

The film’s photography is dark and gloomy, creating an atmosphere of tension and oppression. The scenes are often illuminated in a chiaroscuro way, with plays of light and shadow that underline the duality of the characters and situations.

Giovanni Fusco’s soundtrack helps to amplify the intensity of the scenes, creating a disturbing and dramatic atmosphere. Music accompanies moments of suspense and tension, underlining the anguish and danger of situations.

From a narrative point of view, the film focuses on the main story, avoiding digressions or complex subplots. The plot is linear and well structured, guiding the viewer through the investigations of Commissioner Bellodi and the evolution of his fight against the mafia and corruption.

Overall, the style of “Il giorno della civetta” is realistic and direct, with a focus on social denunciation and on the accurate representation of the dynamics of power and corruption present in the Italian society of the time. Damiano Damiani focuses on building strong and complex characters, with incisive dialogues that highlight the moral conflicts and determination of the protagonists.

Damiani’s sober and realistic approach to dealing with the film’s themes helped make “Il giorno della civetta” a classic of Italian cinema and a reference point for the representation of the mafia and corruption in cinema.

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Director

Damiano-Damiani

The director of “Mafia” is Damiano Damiani. Born on July 23, 1922 in Pasiano di Pordenone, Italy, Damiani was one of the most influential and recognized Italian directors of his time.

Damiani began his film career in the 1950s, working as a screenwriter for several prominent Italian directors. He wrote screenplays for films such as “Il sicario” (1959) by Damiano Damiani, “La grande guerra” (1959) by Mario Monicelli and “Rocco and his brothers” (1960) by Luchino Visconti.

Over the course of his career, Damiani has directed and written numerous films that address complex social and political issues, with an eye to social criticism and the denunciation of corruption and injustice. His films often explore the conflicts between individuals and the system, highlighting the inequalities and contradictions of Italian society.

Damiani had a particular predilection for crime and social denunciation films. In addition to “Il giorno della civetta”, he directed other important works such as “Confession of a police commissioner to the public prosecutor” (1971), “Amen.” (2002) and “The Iron Prefect” (1977), based on the life of the police prefect Cesare Mori, known for his fight against the mafia in the 1920s.

Damiani’s talent as a director has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades. It won the Nastro d’Argento and the David di Donatello in various categories, including best director and best screenplay. He also achieved international recognition, such as the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for the film “The investigation is closed: you forget” (1971).

Damiano Damiani has contributed significantly to Italian cinema, leaving a legacy of films that address important social and ethical issues and still remain relevant today. His ability to tell engaging stories, combined with his ability to highlight the injustices of society, have given him a prominent place in the history of Italian cinema.

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