“The Mafia Kills Only in Summer” (2014)
Arturo was conceived on the same night that right below his parents’ bedroom; a Mafia hit was taking place. One rival gang dressed as cops killed a Mafia boss and his underlings, just as Arturo’s parents finished their night of lovemaking. It seems that little Arturo was destined to be forever linked to the Mafia.
As a young telemetry school boy, Arturo (Alex Bisconti) has two obsessions. One is the political boss Premier Giulio Andreotti. Arturo is convinced that Andreotti is speaking directly to him, giving him advice through his speeches and interviews on how to handle bullies or get girls to like you. His other obsession is a fellow classmate named Flora (Ginevra Antona), who Arturo never can quite get her attention.
Arturo’s obsession with the premier is so consuming that Arturo spends hours complaining a scrapbook of Andreotti’s newspaper appearances. Arturo even dresses as the Premier at his church’s Halloween party, winning the costume contest when his impression of Andreotti is mistaken for the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Arturo continually fails at impressing Flora, mostly due to a rival for her affections, a kid named Rocco, who always seems to be in the perfect position to make a favorable impression on Flora. While Flora is aware of Arturo, too often he is caught trying to impress her, usually failing miserably.
We continue to follow the adventures of Arturo on his adventures as he interacts with both government officials and the reporters who write the stories about them. “The Mafia Kills Only in Summer” a dark comedy that is amusing at times, with a great deal of warmth and humor. The film takes place in Palermo, a long-time mafia stronghold, during the 70s and 80s. It was a time when the government was trying to stop the mafia from taking over, and many died on both sides of the law. Besides dealing with characters based on real people, there are a number of scenes from actual TV reports of Mob hits, making the film feel based on fact. Arturo has the uncanny knack for both knowing who is part of the Mafia (or on the take) and who is one of the good guys. Unfortunately for Arturo, a great deal of the people whom he meets end up with untimely deaths.
Director Pif Diliberto (who also plays the narrator/grown-up up Arturo) does a masterful job of being able to balance the comedy with the stark reality of the pallor of death that continually hangs over the story. It seems that people in the town just accept that the Mafia is a part of their lives, and most seem to know how to keep their heads down. This adds to the comedic tone of the film, as deaths are explained that it wasn’t the Mafia but the men who have died must have wronged a woman and paid for it.
I loved Alex Bisconti as the young Arturo. He has just the right amount of innocence and sweetness needed for the role. He interacts with the rest of the cast extremely well and holds his own with the many adults on the screen. I like Pif Diliberto less as the adult Arturo. Diliberto mugs too many times for the camera; making his performance seem out of place with the rest of the film. There are some sparks between Diliberto and Cristiana Capotondi, who plays a grown-up Flora but those are wasted by Diliberto’ s overacting.
The script by Michele Aston, Diliberto and Marco Martani and the editing by Cristiano Travaglioli are the strong points of this film. The dialog is quick and witty, and the editing keeps the film moving at a fast, comedic pace. The film stands out with its editing of real-life footage from actual mafia hits, with fictional scenes using the actors from the film.
“The Mafia Kills Only in Summer: is a widely imaginative film that is full of comedic surprises. While we are let down somewhat by the later part of the film, it still delivers a fun and thoughtful message. If you want to be entertained by a film, then this one is for you. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
The film is playing exclusively in Atlanta at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
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