July 12, 2020

The mobsters who precipitated the fall of Totò Riina confess in a documentary | Culture


TO Totò Riina, capo de capos Cosa Nostra, who died in prison a year ago, fill Sicily with blood and establish a culture of death gave him power. His macabre and brutal ascent was based on an army of ruthless assassins who under his orders sowed terror and put the state in check. But the end of their criminal parable also began with them, when they became repentant and helped the justice to dismantle the hell they had established. The two-part documentary that was presented in Rome's Film Festival, Corleone: power and blood; and the fall, from the Bulgarian-French director Mosco Levi Boucault portrays, through the testimony of those who lived the story in the first person, the rise and fall – "as in a Shakespearian tragedy" – of the most bloodthirsty godfather in history, the face of a from the darkest times in Italy.

For this, he has for the first time sat before a camera the repentant mafiosi who determined the decline of Riina and whose revelations shed light on the darkness in which the judges moved. Now they live in prison or under house arrest. The weight of the past of death and pain that they try to hide is devastating and they appear covered with balaclavas. Also the documentalist worked anonymously, for five years, and therefore did not participate in the presentation of the work.

Boucault responds to EL PAÍS by phone and explains that his goal is to demystify the Sicilian mafia: "Talking about cinema and The Godfather with an Italian policeman, he told me that the reality was different from what was seen on the screen. I wanted to understand what was really behind Vito Corleone and dismantle the romanticism around the Cosa Nostra. "

The repentants tell how the mafia thought and acted, what led them to enter, the internal struggles, the pulses to the state, the purchase of favors and also the torment and misery they keep from those years. "Giuseppe Marchese told me that he spent his adolescence with a gun in his hand and that he began to feel like a human being when he became repentant," says the documentary maker.

A particularly crude testimony is that of Giovanni Brusca, Riina's trusted man and principal author of the attack against the anti-Mafia judge Giovanni Falcone in 1992. "His past is terrifying," says Boucault. His stark tale summarizes all the stages of a life dedicated to crime. He is able to tell how after a murder he gave the clothes to his mother to wash it and he went to eat a pizza with total normality. Coldly shells all kinds of sadistic criminal techniques such as acid bathtubs to dissolve the victims. "I was not aware of what I was doing. I became worse than Riina ", reveals in the film.

Salvatore 'Totò' Riina on a police file of his last arrest.
Salvatore 'Totò' Riina on a police file of his last arrest.

Francesco Anzelmo tells how he killed his own uncles by order of the capo and ends up recognizing that they were really "butchers" with their brain washed – "what the mafia is not capable of corrupting with love or with terror annihilates it," says Brusca. First Cosa Nostra and then everything else was the guideline. "Corleone also speaks of tyranny and the risks of adhering to a structure where there is no freedom or possibility of going back, "says Boucault.

The dark tale of the gangsters is intertwined with that of magistrates, police or journalists who fought crime. Like Giuseppe Ayala, prosecutor of the Maxiproceso that condemned hundreds of members of the Cosa Nostra. The photographer of the Sicilian lead years, Letizia Battaglia or the police chief of Palermo, Francesco Accordino. They are accompanied by an extensive carefully selected archive material that shows the facts – the dead, the funerals, the lies of Riina in the dock of the defendants, the negotiations of the state with the mafia – in all its brutality, to reproduce the phenomenon from an anthropological and political point of view, far from the myth.

Boucault knows that Corleone remains for history, but alerts that the mafia is not yet finished, it has simply mutated. Although as Ayala points out, picking up the idea of ​​Falcone, the man who best understood the insides of organized crime, "is a human phenomenon and as such, will come to his natural death."

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