Anti-mob message resonates
Cosa Nostra speak on camera. Produced by Gabriele Muccino (Seven Pounds) “I Remember” will soon screen to schoolkids throughout Italy and is likely to land a primetime TV slot. “It’s a historical document that tells you what the Mafia really does: it eliminates people, destroys families, and leaves a big void,” says Gabbai. He says in a break with the past, he was able to find more than 30 people willing to speak about their loss because “there is a greater (anti-Mafia) consciousness now, and the government is certainly stronger that it used to be.” In a high-profile Palermo raid on Dec. 16, Italian police swooped down on 89 alleged members of several Sicilian Mafia clans believed to be reorganizing Cosa Nostra after several years in which it had been laying low due to a previous crackdown. Palermo-born helmer Marco Amenta’s drama “The Sicilian Girl,” due out in Italo theaters in February via Istituto Luce, is the true tale of 17-year-old Rita Atria, the daughter of a Cosa Nostra boss who, after her father was slain in a mob war, became a police collaborator, a decision that drove Atria to take her life, from fear that her days were numbered. “I am representing the Mafia from the point of view of an adolescent girl,” says Amenta. “Through her eyes we see how ugly and wrong this world is.” Amenta, who sees himself hailing from the school of such neo-realist masters as Francesco Rosi whose “Salvatore Giuliano” rigorously reconstructed the Mafia powerplay in postwar Sicily, is incensed by Mediaset’s recent telepic “Il capo dei capi” (Boss of Bosses) a biopic of Cosa Nostra don Toto Riina that Riina reportedly watched from his high-security Milan cell. The top-rated skein also came under fire from some crix for “almost making him look like a hero,” as Amenta puts it. But another recent Italo skein “Romanzo criminale,” (Crime Novel) an offshoot of the eponymous Michele Placido pic about a real Rome mob org with shady government ties is instead Italy’s current critical darling, praised for its innovative raw power and believability and reaping boffo ratings on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia.