×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Angela

A passionate story of adulterous love gains exotic fascination against the backdrop of Palermo's mafia, where the mob's unbreakable code of honor subs for fate in a Greek tragedy.

With:
Angela - Donatella Finocchiaro Masino - Andrea Di Stefano Saro - Mario Pupella

A passionate story of adulterous love gains exotic fascination against the backdrop of Palermo’s mafia, where the mob’s unbreakable code of honor subs for fate in a Greek tragedy. Based on a true story and shot in actual locations by helmer Roberta Torre (“Tano to Die For”), “Angela” succeeds where more superficial, action-oriented mafia pictures fail, creating a fully believable criminal microcosm in which the characters can be amusingly kitschy in their 1984-era striped suits and gold chains but still emotionally credible. Stage thesp Donatella Finocchiaro, here making an outstanding screen debut, holds together the film’s nervous energy with a tense balance of feelings and restraint. Pic should mark the first critical and box office hit for the Rita Rusic Co. since the producer split from Cecchi Gori, and after making a splashy premiere in Cannes’ Directors Fortnight it has all the credentials for a popular Italo export item.

Torre makes a significant leap forward from her first two over-the-top musical comedies set in Palermo’s underworld (“Tano”) and immigrant communities (“Sud Side Story”). As inventively daring as they were, they created and exhausted the micro-genre of Sicilian musicals in just two films. “Angela” takes its inspiration from the same run-down neighborhoods and disreputable streets, but incorporates them into a dramatic framework of human emotion.

Angela is introduced working in her shoe store, attractively feminine in a vulgar, street-smart way. Her carefully controlled, deadpan reactions mark her as a savvy member of her husband Saro’s (Mario Pupella) gang. Though much younger than he, she is bound to him by real affection, not just the jewelry he showers on her. She stuffs packets of drugs into her shoeboxes and occasionally even helps with deliveries, though many of Saro’s cohorts frown on a woman taking a hands-on role in the business.

The local cops are paid off, ganglords are in balance, and operations are running smoothly when handsome Masino (Andrea Di Stefano) comes to work for Saro. Angela can’t take her eyes off the young gangster. They fight back their attraction but one night, when Saro is away, passions explode. Angela, always so serious when doing business, is a generous and uninhibited lover; Masino, who has a reputation as a ladies’ man, falls for her head over heels.

Amazingly, Saro and his gang sense nothing about what’s going on under their noses, perhaps trusting too much in the iron-clad rules of honor that binds mafia wives slavishly to their men. It is only when the police raid the shoe store and arrest the whole gang that their affair is brought to light. Among the wiretaps are incriminating phone calls between Angela and Masino. Investigators offer to destroy them if she cooperates, but true to the code she lives by, Angela refuses to save herself by having others arrested.

The consequences of her decision are played out in the film’s final scenes, where the atmosphere turns to poignant melancholy, underlined by Andrea Guerra’s fine lyrical score.

Boss and murderer though he be, Pupella wins strong sympathy as the betrayed husband who loves Angela to the end but whose rules forbid him to forgive her. Di Stefano, seen in Bellocchio’s “The Prince of Homburg,” is a seductive rake of a lover, who demonstrates more courage in love than in killing. Sicilian filmmaker and cinematographer Daniele Cipri makes a major contribution to the film’s nervous, ever-wary camerawork, using of a dark lighting style that never relents.

Angela

Directors Fortnight / Italy

Production: A Rita Rusic Co./Movieweb production. (International sales: Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Rome.) Produced by Lierka and Rita Rusic. Executive producer, Roberto Alchimede. Directed and written by Roberta Torre.

Crew: Camera (color), Daniele Cipri; editor, Roberto Missiroli; music, Andrea Guerra; production and costume designer, Enrico Serafini; sound, Cinzia Alchimede. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors Fortnight), May 19, 2002. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Angela - Donatella Finocchiaro Masino - Andrea Di Stefano Saro - Mario PupellaWith: Erasmo Lobello, Tony Gambino, Matteo Gulino, Giuseppe Pettinato, Maria Mistretta.

More Film

  • Korea Box Office: "Money" Wins Debut

    Korea Box Office: 'Money' Defeats 'Captain Marvel'

    Korean crime drama “Money” debuted on top of the South Korean box office, preventing “Captain Marvel” from topping the chart for three consecutive weekends. It is the story of a young stockbroker who dreams of riches but becomes caught in a stock market scam. Opening on Wednesday, the Showbox release earned $12.0 million from 1.54 [...]

  • Us Movie

    'Us' Cements the Box Office Power of Jordan Peele

    Given the breakout success of “Get Out,” it’s no surprise audiences were salivating to see the next nightmare from the mind of writer-director Jordan Peele. “Get Out,” which landed a screenwriting Oscar for Peele, became one of the most profitable movies of 2017 (grossing $255 million globally on a $4.5 million budget) after the horror [...]

  • Box Office Film Placeholder

    China Box Office: Taiwan's 'More Than Blue' Wins Second Weekend

    Taiwanese melodrama, “More Than Blue” held strong at the Chinese box office, to secure a second week of success. The film is a Chinese-language remake of a Korean film from 2009, involving Singapore’s MM2 and the filmmaking arm of Fox Networks. With little in the way of strong, new competition, “blue” scored $27 million, according [...]

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Us Scriptwriter and Film-maker Larry Cohen

    Larry Cohen, Cult Horror Writer-Director of 'It's Alive,' Dies at 77

    Larry Cohen, best known for his work as a B-movie producer and director in the ’70s and his later work in screenwriting, has died. He was 77. Cohen’s friend, actor and publicist Shade Rupe, confirmed the news, which was announced in a post to Cohen’s official Facebook page. Rupe said Cohen died in Los Angeles [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content