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A very real - unsentimental portrait - of Mafia Crime in Sicily
on November 10, 2010
As a humanist, I despise settling problems with a gun. In rare cases it is justified - fighting the Nazis, let's say. But too often the gun is glorified in film. Not so, this story. It is the tale of a young women brought up in an Italian Mafia family whose father is gunned down by a rival in the "family." This happens when she is a small girl. Her brother tells her to be strong and pick the time to get revenge. Over time, Rita starts to document the meetings, killings, and conversations of the Mafia players with photos and notes in diary after diary. After her brother is brutally murdered, she gathers the courage to go public, go to the public prosecutor in Palermo, Sicily. This is a true story.
The result...the Mafia attacks the justice systems itself - killing policeman and lawyers for the government...and looking for Rita herself. To these hoods, killing is acceptable, even ordinary...but telling the truth to the police? Well, that's the most unspeakable crime from the Mafia's point of view. Yet this daughter of a crime family has the rare courage to do...just that.
This is really an extraordinary picture that reminds me of the "Battle of Algiers" in unraveling its story. None of the murders are depicted heroically...they are shown as the dirty, ugly crimes that they really are. There are some surprising revelations about the girl's father. The courtroom scenes are spectacular in an understated sort of way.
The acting throughout is believable and this was filmed on location. The picture even has a rough quality about it...like a documentary. No bones about it, I thought it was one of the best films of 2010.
I dislike the romanticism of many American gangster pictures. For the truth, try "The Sicilian Girl."