×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cannes: Italian Auteur Marco Bellocchio to Make Biopic About Tommaso Buscetta, Cosa’s Nostra’s First Informant

Italian auteur and Cannes veteran Marco Bellocchio, whose melodrama “Sweet Dreams” screened in Directors’ Fortnight, will make a high-profile film about Tommaso Buscetta, the first high-ranking Italian mob leader to break the Sicilian Mafia’s oath of silence whose testimony helped convict hundreds of Mafia leaders in Italy and the United States.

Working-titled “The Traitor,” the film will see Bellocchio delve into an intriguing piece of recent Italian history, somewhat similarly to the work he did in “Good Morning, Night,” his reconstruction of the 1978 kidnapping and killing of Aldo Moro, Italy’s former prime minister and head of the Christian Democrat party. Just as in “Night,” the core of the film will be the human side of the protagonist.

“I am interested in Buscetta’s character because he is a traitor. “But actually who betrayed the ‘sacred’ principles of Cosa Nostra wasn’t Buscetta,” he added. “It was [then Cosa Nostra boss] Totò Riina and the Corleonesi Clan.” The Corleonesi were a faction within Cosa Nostra who in the 1970’s triggered several internecine wars.

Buscetta’s decision to cooperate with Italian and, later, American prosecutors in 1984 marked the first major “betrayal” within Cosa Nostra’s high-ranks and is considered to have changed the course of a dark chapter in contempo Italian history.

Buscetta’s testimony about heroin smuggling in the ”pizza connection” case in the mid-1980’s allowed him to obtain American citizenship, and a place in the U.S. witness protection program. He died of cancer in 2000 in an undisclosed U.S. location.

His revelations caused him the death of many relatives, including two sons. Buscetta’s family has agreed to Bellocchio’s film being made. It will be based on extensive research done by a team of journalists, testimony from people who knew him, and material in Italian archives.

Bellocchio is writing the screenplay.

The plan is for Bellocchio’s next film to be shot in the United States and Brazil, as well as in Italy.

Production of “The Traitor” is being mounted by “Sweet Dreams” producer Beppe Caschetto’s IBC Movie, who is in talks with prospective international partners.

Rai Cinema, the film unit of Italian pubcaster Rai, is co-producing and will release the film in Italy. Bellocchio’s own Kavac shingle is also on board.

“It will be an international production by one of our auteurs who is best known abroad,” said Rai Cinema topper Paolo Del Brocco.

“Just like Bellocchio gave us a personal portrait of Aldo Moro and an original reconstruction of his travails, we think his vision of history and ability to present a non-conventional read on the facts will serve him well in reconstructing this complex character,” he added.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Aaron Janus Lionsgate

    Lionsgate Names New Senior Vice President and Vice President of Production

    Lionsgate appointed Aaron Janus as its new senior vice president of production and  Meredith Wieck as its new vice president of production. Both Janus and Wieck will report to Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of production.  Prior to Lionsgate, Janus served as Platinum Dunes head of development where he oversaw filmmakers Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and [...]

  • Ang Lee Reveals First Look at

    Ang Lee on 'Gemini Man' and De-Aging Will Smith

    On paper, Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” is a standard-issue, shoot ’em up with Will Smith playing a deadly assassin who must battle a younger clone of himself. The explosions and gun battles aren’t what drew Lee to the project, even if they’re the reason that most people will show up at theaters when it opens [...]

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Sean Clarke Aardman Staff Photography Bristol.Pic

    Aardman Appoints Sean Clarke as New Managing Director

    Aardman, the Oscar-winning animation studio behind “Chicken Run” and “Early Man,” has appointed Sean Clarke as its new managing director, replacing co-founder David Sproxton, who is stepping down after 43 years. Clarke has worked at the British studio for more than 20 years, including heading the international rights and marketing department for over a decade. [...]

  • The Antenna

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Antenna'

    Jump scares, creepy noises and the tease of hidden-from-view dangers are all fine. But a truly frightening horror film unsettles with more than its crafts, but instead through the vulnerability of defenseless people stuck with bad options only. First-time writer-director Orçun Behram’s highly stylized and mildly disturbing “The Antenna,” a metaphor on Turkey’s current ruling [...]

  • Ad Astra Box Office

    Box Office Battle: 'Ad Astra' Takes on 'Rambo: Last Blood' and 'Downton Abbey'

    “Hustlers” and “Good Boys” proved that even in the age of Marvel dominance and remake mania, movies that don’t exist within an established franchise can still be box office draws. Can “Ad Astra” continue that trend? The space drama — starring Brad Pitt and directed by James Gray — arrives on the big screen this [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks

    Harvey Weinstein Accuser Lucia Evans Breaks Silence After D.A. Dropped Charge

    Lucia Evans gave a wrenching account on Tuesday of her efforts to hold Harvey Weinstein responsible for sexual assault, saying she felt betrayed after the Manhattan D.A.’s office dropped her allegations last year. Evans spoke to Variety after giving a speech at a conference on influencer fraud in Manhattan, making her first public comments on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content