THE MAFIA KILLS ONLY IN SUMMER (2014, Italy)
SUNDAY 29 May 10.00 am
TUESDAY 31 May 8.15 pm
RUNNING TIME 89 minutes
The film follows precocious hero Arturo (Pif) from childhood to maturity, examining the pervasive influence the Cosa Nostra holds over the everyday lives of his family and community as he commences a life-long romantic pursuit of beautiful classmate and neighbor, Floro (Cristiana Capotondi).
REVIEW BY LOUISE KELLER
Mafia blood and true love are strange bedfellows in this black comedy whose wonderful title promises more than the film offers. In his debut feature, TV satirist Pierfrancesco Diliberto (known as Pif) has conceived an interesting and ambitious concept: to weave a tapestry backdrop in which the Mafia is ever present, while juxtaposing a thread of romance throughout. The trouble is, that the humour fails to translate as black - callous Mafia-style assassinations depicted as punctuation marks expressing irony are limited in their effectiveness. Additionally, the drawn out romance between Arturo (Pif) and Floro (Cristiana Capotondi), the girl of his dreams never fires - in part because not enough time is spent on their adult relationship.
By way of set up, and through effective narration, Arturo explains the circumstances of his conception in 1969, when a Mafia raid takes place at the same time his parents consummate their wedding. It's a clever beginning and I laughed when we learn young Arturo's (Alex Bisconti) surprising first word. Arturo's infatuation at school with the lovely Floro (Ginevra Antona) is entertaining enough: we feel the pangs of insecurity of a young boy in the flush of first love.
There are some funny ideas and I like the way the young Arturo takes his inspiration from the local politician, whose first declaration of love takes place at a cemetery. Real-life murders are included within the storyline and perhaps those who are more attune with Mafia history will get more out of it. The look of the film is terrific, with venetian chandeliers, 70s wallpaper and the ever-present black and white archival news reportage which adds great authenticity.
The jump from boyhood to adult is somewhat clumsy and the relationship between Arturo (as the would-be journalist) and Floro (as the politician's assistant) never rings true. He clearly yearns for her but the character of Floro is disappointingly underdeveloped. The scene in which she invites Arturo to her apartment for her 'first time' falls flat.
Possibly too clever for its own good, the film might work better if the early years are shortened; the adult years expanded and the circular ending - well, that works nicely as it is.