English Title: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer
Original Title: La mafia uccide solo d’estate
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Music: Santi Pulvirenti
Cinematography: Roberto Forza
This is a nationally-acclaimed director debut of Italian’s new triple-threat Pif, who directs, co-writes and stars in this satirical comedy, chronicling the turbulent mafia assassinations in Palermo from 1970s to 90s, through the eye of Arturo (played by Bisconti as a young boy and Pif himself as the grownup), who life has been significantly influenced by the local mafia activities, usually accompanied by Pif’s smug voiceover, he even self-claims his own birth is thanks to a mafia shootout downstairs of his parents’ apartment, although the animated scenes are riddle with biological errors, nevertheless, the jaunty atmosphere is pleasing enough to lure audience into the storytelling.
A consistent thread running through all the various but cursory political assassinations is Arturo’s unrequited affection towards his classmate Flora (played by Antona as a child and Capotondi as the adult), arguably the film’s most delightful parts come from the childhood period, Pif manages to depict a rather humorous scenario out of the horrendous events happening wantonly, a highlight is Arturo’s immense worship towards Il Divo, Giulio Andreotti, to reflect how political figures can wreak major influence on a white-sheet soul. After almost one-hour screen time (the film only runs in a terse 90 minutes), Arturo and Flora’s finally run into each other’s lives in their adulthood, the sudden jump creates a dissonance between Pit and Bisconti, especially the latter infuses Arturo with cherubic cuteness and tangible earnestness, also in physical terms, there are no clue or whatsoever to indicate that they are the same person with 20 years of age differences, and the budding romance has been snuffed out to pave the way for a self-indulgent rom-com which feels so trivial and contrived under the current of what was actually going on at then.
Reaping 2 awards (BEST NEW DIRECTOR and DAVID OF THE YOUTH for Pif) out of its overall 9 nominations in DAVID DI DONATELLO Awards and many new director trophies in domestic award circuits in 2014, the film certainly can connect more towards those who are well versed in the real events of the region and can finally laugh about the resonances afterwards, but for audience out of Italy, it falls flat in its executions when compared to a similar triple threat Guillaume Gallienne from its neighbour France, with his fetching debut and CÉSAR crowner ME, MYSELF AND MUM (2013), maybe in a certain extent, it also frankly reveals the present cinematic creativity and soils of these two great countries (both have enormously rich contributions towards world cinema), and now sadly, a visible gap seems to be widened through recent years, if this film can be a serious winner of BEST DEBUT in a calendar year, it is not a good sign for the mired Italian contemporary cinema scenes, scintillating new blood is urgently wanting.