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UCL Mellon Programme: Interdisciplinary Seminar 2007-2008

Seminar: 24 October 2007

Dr Federica Mazzarra introduces Cento Passi (One Hundred Steps), a film by Marco Tullio Giordana (2000)

“I cento passi” (one hundred steps) is a film about Mafia, but it does not belong to the genre of Mafia movies that, according to a cliché, have always depicted Sicily as an island of codes of silence and criminal activities, where nobody does anything to change things.

As director of this movie, Marco Tullio Giordana asserts that I cento passi “is not a mafia movie and it has none of the conventional elements of such a film. It doesn’t deal with the conflict between good and evil, between saints and sinners, between the rule of law and that of crime. … It’s a movie about family bounds, about the shame of belonging to a tainted family”.

Peppino Impastato, together with other people who like him sacrificed their freedom for an ideal of justice, is the example of a brave and resolved answer to an untouchable and impenetrable social system like the Mafia. He had the courage to opposing this system, by fighting against Tano Badalamenti, one the most influential figures of Cosa Nostra and against his own family, which was connected to him. Peppino denounced the distortion of Mafia in his little Sicilian town, Cinisi, ridiculing the taboos of silence of locals and relatives. He did this with simple strategies, running a local newspaper and a tiny radio station called Radio Aut, that he used for yelling out his disgust and his anger.

Peppino was killed on May 9 1978. His death was covered up as suicide that Peppino, whom they called a terrorist, committed with his own bomb. Only after six years, was it actually recognized that Impastato was murdered by the Mafia, even though there was not enough evidence for prosecution. Finally, in 1999, new testimonies could confirm that Tano Badalamenti ordered Impastato’s murder, and in 2000, while the parliamentary inquiry was still looking into the case, I cento passi won the Leone d’Oro at the Film Festival in Venice.

One hundred is the number of steps that separated Peppino’s house from that of Badalamenti, and that Peppino had the courage of counting aloud with the anger of someone who wanted to fight against injustice.

This page last modified 26 September, 2012 by UCL Mellon Admin

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imag: book cover, Federica  Mazzara

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