Shooting the Mafia (2019) Movie Script

I began taking pictures when I was 40.
At first, the pictures were terrible.
As they got better,
I slowly fell in love with it.
I loved the way I could express myself
with the camera
rather than writing.
It was the start of a love story.
I loved being a photographer,
showing what I'd seen,
what I felt inside.
The camera changed my life.
I began to find myself.
Before that, I wasn't a real person.
Life's been good to me.
I'm glad I have some fight left.
I don't bow down
to bullying
or injustice.
That'd make a good photo -
that boy in the fountain.
Photography is very important to me.
It moves me.
My work forced me...
...into another world
I saw that the Mafia
and political corruption
caused so much poverty.
There was a lot of Mafia
in this neighbourhood.
Perhaps they're still here.
A poor kind of Mafia
that did the bosses' dirty work,
did their murders.
I took some good pictures here
of women and children.
This woman had 3 children.
One was a new-born baby.
She was tired,
she'd been washing the stairs.
During the night, a rat ate his finger.
She slept through the baby's crying.
The next day, the baby's finger was gone.
This picture's special to me.
A few years after I took it,
I got a phone call
from the curator of a gallery.
She asked me to take it down.
A girl had come to the exhibition,
recognized her mother in the photo
and fainted.
I said "Of course, take it down".
The mother was a prostitute,
these were her gay friends.
She wasn't killed
for being a prostitute.
She'd started selling drugs.
She'd broken the Mafia rules.
She'd tried to go it alone.
Letizia is a legend.
A flash of red hair,
bobbing up and down at rallies.
She'd always cause a stir.
For me, as a child,
she was a powerful figure.
She stood out in the crowd.
When I first saw her archive,
I was shocked.
I'd always been afraid of her photos,
but then I realised they are our history.
I held a print in my hand.
I looked up at Letizia.
I knew I never wanted to leave her.
The Mafia kills
so does silence
Thank you.
Thank you for your life.
There were times
when fear took over.
I don't want to think about pain.
My photos of the Mafia,
of the dead -
I wanted to burn them.
I could almost hear the plastic burning.
I dreamed of burning my negatives,
but I have no right.
I want to take away the beauty
that others see in them.
I want to destroy them.
Kids dream of being important.
Perhaps being a killer is a game
but it's how they hope to be powerful.
The killer is a symbol for them.
It was a man's world,
women were subject to their rules.
I was a happy child.
Life for me was riding bikes,
running happily around town,
riding with my legs on the handlebars.
One day, I went out in Palermo.
It was the first time I'd left the house.
The first time...
...a man... himself and masturbated.
I didn't know about things like that.
I ran home in shock.
I wasn't allowed out any more.
They stopped me from living, from growing.
I was stunted.
My father forced me to stay at home.
He took away my freedom.
All my dreams were shattered
like a china cup on the floor.
Why do such small things
make us suffer all our lives?
That awful man in the shadows.
To have a father
who controlled your whole life.
I couldn't even go on the balcony
in case a man saw me.
All fathers at that time were obsessed.
They were scared of other men
who'd take their daughter away.
They sent me to the nuns, a posh school.
I had to curtsey 8 times.
That made me an atheist straight away.
We women longed for freedom
so much back then.
We met on the street.
I'd gone out for milk.
He was wealthy,
8 years older than me.
I thought I'd get married, be happy,
have lots of kids,
be free.
I ran away with him.
I was a virgin.
His aunt came to check...
...the sheets
She said "You'll do".
She'd found blood stains.
"You'll do".
She told his whole family
I was a virgin, taken by a strong man.
At 16, I married the first boy who asked me.
I had lovely children
but it was an unhappy marriage.
I wanted to go to school.
My husband wouldn't let me.
I didn't want to be just a mother.
If only he'd let me study.
But he thought it wasn't proper
for a young woman.
I got ill.
Mentally ill
I had a kind of heart attack.
I was suffocating.
There was a lot of violence.
When a man sees his wife wants to leave,
he lashes out.
I ended up in a clinic in Switzerland.
They said I'd need to stay for 2 years
because I was so ill.
I became a restless woman.
I started looking at other men.
1 man, 2 men, 50 men...
It was my struggle to be somebody.
To be a person
with her own desires,
breaking free from her old life.
Letizia was beautiful.
She attracted men like flypaper.
We'd walk on opposite sides of the street
so people wouldn't see us together.
I'd pass someone who'd just seen her.
She had this loose way of walking.
She'd walk towards you.
People would call out to her.
Once, I passed an annoying guy.
I barged into him.
I could've got into a fight!
So, Santi...
How old were you?
I was nearly 20.
You were 19.
I was this big whore.
- No, you weren't.
- How old was I?
You were 32.
We met in Rome.
Letizia arrived with her girls.
We started looking at each other.
We connected immediately.
I went back to Palermo with them.
We were in a car.
We shared a cigarette.
Our first contact was a moist cigarette.
Then we began holding hands in secret.
It was...
She made the first move.
I hesitated.
She made it happen.
We met in secret.
I was so jealous.
She was living with her husband.
They had a house by the sea.
They'd have holidays there.
I'd get there late at night.
When her husband was asleep,
she'd meet me on the balcony.
...very difficult.
My daughters were grown up.
I wanted to change my life
and just leave
I began to take control of my life.
I wanted to work.
I went into L'Ora newspaper.
I was lucky, it was August.
Everyone was on holiday,
they needed help desperately.
Someone who'd do a bit of everything.
I wrote some articles, it felt great.
I remember...
Look, he doesn't have a camera,
just a light meter.
We shared cameras.
He hasn't got a lens.
He doesn't have one either.
Little by little, I realised...
...I preferred taking photos to writing.
I didn't want to be a journalist.
With photography, I could tell my own story.
I could feel it rather than understand it.
I could express myself.
Letizia, as a young woman,
was absolutely beautiful.
Her beauty provoked you.
When I first met Letizia,
she was well known in this city.
We'd all heard about her.
Her husband caught her in bed with a lover.
He shot him, but didn't kill him.
For a short time,
Letizia's life spiralled into chaos,
But then she found her vocation.
I was happy being a photographer,
the first female photographer in Italy
to work for a daily paper.
I felt proud,
I tried to do a good job.
At first...
...I didn't think about the Mafia.
I thought I'd photograph
children, women, streets...
...anything but the Mafia.
It happened straight away.
Three days after I started,
I witnessed my first murder.
Your first murder...
...never leaves you.
There'd been a murder in the countryside.
I started shaking.
I'd never seen that.
When we got there...
...the body had been there for days.
The smell was terrible.
There was an olive tree.
The wind was carrying the smell.
I felt that the body might move.
It didn't.
This was the start...
...of a story
that lasted 19 years
at the newspaper in Palermo.
I'd go out with my camera.
The police and everyone
always pushed me aside.
I'd have to yell
and embarrass them.
I'd shout:
"The TV are allowed in... are allowed in, why not me?"
It was only later
that I got their respect as a photographer.
One morning, there were 3 or 4 murders.
It happened all the time.
I was stuck in this city.
We weren't together anymore,
which made it...
...even harder.
We carried on working together,
which made things very difficult.
I'm Sicilian, I'm still here.
You wanted to leave too.
I always wanted to leave but I never have.
After 50 years,
what are we to each other now?
I was very moved when I saw you.
I'm always moved when I see you.
I often want to be with you,
to share a bed with you,
to hug you.
You know?
Yes but... we can't have that.
We could do it in secret.
We won't tell anyone.
What remains...
...of our great love story?
What's left?
We're here, aren't we?
We're still here.
We still see each other.
We still have a relationship.
We're like family.
It's not all lost.
We're like family.
True love...
I don't know what that is anymore!
Because things end.
Love is a lie.
Love is a swindle.
A swindle.
If it was true love, it would never end.
I came to Palermo when I was 22.
Letizia was 40.
She was 18 years older
but it didn't matter to me.
Hey, Letizia.
Come have a seat and relax.
I've never been here before.
Have a look around.
It's really big.
How's Palermo for you?
It's heartbreaking.
Because you're here for the rally?
Things have changed.
I'm reminded...
...of my old life in Palermo.
All my emotions
are tangled up here.
All those memories
come back to life.
At times, there were 5 murders a day.
Once there were 7, all in the same place.
We'd never known a slaughter like it.
It was civil war in Palermo.
In one year, they killed about 1,000 people.
Those years...
...were very painful.
You could feel the oppression,
the menace,
one after another.
It was unbearable.
It was all too much.
It was a dark, painful time.
There was a bad atmosphere in the city.
Every day, I thought they might shoot me.
I got used to it, accepted it.
They smashed my cameras.
I was spat at.
I got death threats over the phone.
I got anonymous letters.
It was good to be a bit crazy.
It gave me courage.
I am brave, I see that now.
What do we fear?
The unknown?
It was dangerous out there,
especially at funerals.
At Mafia funerals,
we had to take pictures of their friends
and of the families too.
They didn't want photographers there.
A photographer is so exposed.
At funerals, they knew who you were.
It felt more threatening
and dangerous.
I'd set the focus and speed
on the camera.
Then I'd cough... they wouldn't hear the click.
For the first time, the Mafia is divided.
The young Mafia is led by Luciano Liggio
who's accused of many murders.
Liggio has been in hiding for 14 years.
His ability to avoid capture was legendary.
Today that legend is shattered.
Mr Liggio?
What a good audience.
People say that since your arrest in 1975
you've controlled the Corleone Mafia
from this prison
through your henchmen
Riina and Provenzano.
What do you say?
How exactly?
By what means?
I remember Liggio saying:
"Come, come".
I have a picture of him doing this
with that look in his eyes.
"Come here, I'll kill you."
Imagine how they felt,
being photographed by a woman.
Not just photographed, but by a woman.
Mafia men were so arrogant.
I remember Liggio.
When he first walked into court,
the policeman looked like the criminal.
Liggio, pulling the cop behind him.
Chained together.
Liggio walked in front, his head held high.
He looked like the boss of the court.
I was shaking.
Only one shot isn't blurred.
I was trembling taking all the other photos,
not with fear but emotion.
Those bosses exuded such cruel power.
I was confronting them.
It was terrifying.
If he could, he would have killed me.
Liggio is a bandit, a killer.
He does the dirty work himself.
He never leaves any witnesses alive.
At first, it was Mafia killing Mafia.
Later, they killed men
from the establishment.
Did anyone see
who shot Judge Scaglione?
No one saw anything?
Did you hear gunshots?
I did.
I thought they were shooting birds,
they do that sometimes.
That's all it was.
Were you here that morning?
Not at the window, I was in bed.
I have a nervous condition.
First they killed Judge Scaglione.
Then it was one after another,
it was too much.
We'd tune in to the police radio
and rush there by moped or taxi.
They murdered Judge Costa
near the newspaper office.
I ran, cameras swinging around my neck.
When we got there,
we thought he was dead.
He was still alive.
It was all devastating.
It was a terrible time.
It left deep wounds.
Life for us...
...photographers, journalists, police... was no longer...
It's never the same.
You can never be truly happy
when you've lived through that horror,
the pain of those left behind.
Photographing trauma is embarrassing.
You love these people,
but you have to take photos.
I couldn't tell them
I was doing it with love.
I look through my photos
and see the name 'Letizia' on them.
I don't remember taking them.
Death isn't frightening.
It's worse for the killers
than it is for the victims.
If only people realised,
the killers suffer, not the victims,
they might stop doing harm.
I can't stand people stepping on my toes.
What do you do?
I don't tolerate it.
If they don't stop?
I tread on theirs.
What should I do?
Turn the other cheek, like Jesus?
Where would it end?
How many cheeks would I need?
Those molluscs think
they can become men by attacking me.
They're the dregs,
the bottom of the barrel.
Molluscs, homosexuals.
Dumped by their wives.
They think they can be real men
if they attack Liggio.
Corleone is a farming town
60km from Palermo.
15,000 inhabitants,
3,000 are unemployed.
There's a hidden menace
that paralyses everything.
You learn more about Corleone
from the graves in the cemetery.
No one has ever counted the disappeared.
If someone disappears,
it's not reported to the police.
Everyone stays quiet.
This is the law of the Mafia.
And the misery of Corleone.
One Sunday,
we took my Mafia photos to Corleone.
People were strolling around -
mostly men, a few women.
We showed our photos.
There were photos of the Corleone Mafia
like Liggio.
It was very scary.
You could feel it all around you.
They call it "The Code of Silence",
I call it fear.
Everyone left the square.
We were left alone with the photos.
Was it hard to set up this exhibition?
That was the easy bit.
They're photos taken over 5 years.
We wanted people to see them.
Have you had any problems?
No, none.
Just our own fear.
Have you got over it?
Yes, but these are desperate times.
I can feel the violence on my skin.
We face it every day.
Showing photos here is terrifying.
There were times when we'd get home,
we'd drive twice around the block
before we parked
in case someone was waiting for us.
It was difficult to be lovers... that world.
We were wrecked.
Often we'd just hug and fall asleep.
We were so sad and disillusioned.
That's yours.
That's yours.
That's mine.
No, no. That's mine.
That's mine.
The relationship wore out.
I left L'Ora newspaper.
I got into politics.
I was less involved with him,
more detached.
We'd been together 18 years.
He wanted other things.
I could tell.
I cried, it was painful.
He was so young, he had to explore.
There was no bitterness.
When you left, did I make a fuss?
No, there was a lot of pain.
We cried.
Shall we say goodbye?
I tried to get over the pain of Franco.
I had to rebuild myself.
I did it on my own.
I look at my photos,
it's just blood, blood, blood.
I wanted to get more involved.
I decided...
...not to give up taking photos
but to get into politics.
I think it's so important... have a good political class.
I was no one.
But I was an honest woman.
I wanted to build a better society.
Letizia Battaglia, Green Party councillor.
I'd like to take this opportunity
to appeal to young people who take drugs
If only they could stop.
My daughter was an addict,
I know how hard it is.
She got clean.
If only they could stop,
we could end all the trafficking,
crime and violence.
A restless woman like me
is bound to damage her daughters.
My relationship with them was so hard.
You're never good enough.
Never give enough.
You never get enough back.
It's tough.
I could talk about it but...
...I don't want to.
Being in parliament
was the worst time of my life.
I did nothing and was paid a fortune.
Everything was decided elsewhere.
The Mafia was still there.
We loved Falcone very much.
He was a modern hero.
Falcone said: "Follow the money
and you'll find the Mafia".
That's how he brought
hundreds of Mafia to court.
We're at the courtroom in Palermo.
This is coming to you live.
3 hours ago,
the first great Mafia trial began.
There are 474 defendants
ready to plead their case.
One of the most notorious,
you'll see him in a moment.
We've had a few problems
but here he is.
Luciano Liggio has spent most of his life
in jail or in hiding.
I didn't want to go.
It was my duty as a photographer
but I didn't go.
I couldn't face the horror anymore.
There were hundreds of Mafia there.
I didn't want to look at them.
Tommaso Buscetta's arrival
shatters the defendants' hopes.
Buscetta, an informer known as
"The Boss of Two Worlds".
His evidence destroys
the Mafia's defence.
He gave away the Mafia's secrets
to Judge Falcone.
He's known Mafia bosses for 40 years.
Who were the members of the Commission?
All regional bosses
are part of the Commission.
Each boss is elected by three families.
So they decide who to murder?
The Commission decides who to kill.
The head of the family
would never murder anyone
without consulting his regional boss.
I've been in solitary since 1977
through no fault of my own.
I don't see how
I could've asked anyone
to carry out these absurd orders
as you're suggesting.
In the name of the Italian people,
the court of Palermo...
...according to the law,
declares that Agate Mariano,
Alberti Gerardo, Alfano Paolo,
Bona Alfredo, Bona Giuseppe,
Brusca Bernardo, Calo Giuseppe,
Canisero Francesco, Castronuovo Francesco,
Catalano Onofrio...
The court is now closed.
Tot Riina, boss of the Corleone Mafia,
was still in hiding.
He went crazy
after his Maxi trial's life sentence.
He planned a terrible revenge
against Palermo and our judges.
Riina's allies,
the politicians in the government,
plotted against Falcone.
His security was cut back.
He was in more danger than ever before.
You're sacrificing yourself for the State.
What does the State mean to you?
There aren't many ways to describe it.
It's not about the State, it's society.
What kind of world are you fighting for?
I'm fighting for a society
where these things don't happen any more.
They constantly attacked him.
You can't imagine how viciously the press,
both local and national,
went for him.
I'd say,
"Let me take a good photo of you".
He'd reply:
"They'll accuse me of self-promotion".
"Take a photo of me when I walk past".
I didn't just meet him
when I was a photographer.
In his last years, I was a politician.
Once we went to see him on an official visit.
It was lovely,
he's so sweet.
We kept telling him "They'll kill you".
He'd say "Don't worry".
"If I die, others will take my place".
It was a Sunday.
I was at my mum's.
She was ill.
They interrupted the TV programme.
Something had happened
on the motorway.
I called Franco...
...and told him to go there.
I couldn't go.
I didn't have the strength.
I called a taxi
and went to the hospital.
They said he was wounded.
He died later.
I waited for hours
for Falcone and his wife.
She died too.
An attack in Palermo on Giovanni Falcone.
The Mafia has killed him.
He's been killed while driving over a tunnel
on the motorway from the airport.
A number of bodyguards
have also been killed.
His wife is gravely injured.
They've killed Giovanni Falcone
whose fight against the Mafia
was his life's work.
Giovanni Falcone was about to become
Special Prosecutor.
He was once
the most protected magistrate in Italy.
The men from Cosa Nostra
have slaughtered him.
I held him in my arms.
Falcone took his last breath.
I'd always known it would end like this.
I couldn't take any photos.
I didn't want to tell
any more stories of blood.
I loved Falcone so much.
He was one of those really good people.
I couldn't photograph him dead.
Now I think "Why didn't I?"
Why are you making me think about this?
I don't want to.
I realise now
I've never been at peace.
It's always been like this.
My life...
...has always been a struggle.
They're students.
Those are colleagues
of the bodyguards.
They are struggling to control the crowd.
I, Rosaria Costa...
This is the widow of a bodyguard.
...for those who gave
their life for the State,
I ask for justice.
I'm speaking to the Mafia
who are in this church.
You can be forgiven.
I'll forgive you
if you get down on your knees,
if you've got the courage to change.
But they won't change.
To change...
To change...
They don't want to change!
Rosaria Schifani -
her husband was Falcone's bodyguard.
She shouted at the funeral:
"Mafia, kneel down
and ask for forgiveness".
I was lucky as a kid
to be friends with Judge Falcone.
We lived next door.
We met again as colleagues
to fight the Mafia.
Without our friendship,
we wouldn't have got through it
or been able to carry on.
I'll never forget
the crowd in a vast hall.
A man at the back was pacing
up and down,
head down.
It was Paolo Borsellino.
Alone, walking up and down.
He wasn't really seeing anything.
Up and down.
My life has changed.
The death of my old friend
and colleague
has really shaken me.
A month later, I'm still trying... get back to work.
The pain has taken a huge toll.
I was afraid...
...that after Falcone died, I'd give up.
...anger has kept me going.
This is an apocalypse.
Two months after Falcone's death,
the Mafia have struck again.
This time, the target is Paolo Borsellino.
Let's hope the attack didn't kill
Paolo Borsellino, the intended victim.
There are at least four dead.
Any update?
It's just been confirmed
the body is Paolo Borsellino,
killed by the violent explosion.
His body, what's left of it,
was found in front of the house.
The police have just confirmed
it's by the door where his mother lives.
It's Paolo Borsellino.
It's definitely him.
It was a Sunday.
I was at my mum's again.
We heard a very loud roar.
It was the bomb.
I called a taxi and went there.
I remember bits of bodies on the ground.
All that was left of Borsellino
was his stomach.
I just couldn't take a picture
of his stomach.
I had my camera but I couldn't.
I didn't even take a photo of the car
on top of a tree.
Thrown in the air, a car.
The pictures I never took...
...hurt me most.
I never took them,
I miss them.
I feel disrespectful somehow.
I don't know.
That's how it was.
The city woke up from a dark dream
that had lasted for centuries.
People were at breaking point.
Sicilians wanted a clean break
without the Mafia.
This is the real Palermo.
They're the Mafia,
the government is the Mafia.
See how they're treating us?
They won't let me into the church.
We are honest people.
We want to honour our dead.
They allowed this to happen.
They're our dead, they died for us.
It's our right to honour them.
Just carry on.
They've started to break through,
the President is about to arrive.
There's not enough police.
President, it's us they're killing!
You're all disgusting!
Out of the church, you Mafia!
The funeral ceremony is over.
People are angry.
The President is stuck in the crowd.
Police are struggling
to keep people back.
They're trying to get out.
It's awful.
They're running to the door.
Minutes ago, people were calm.
The atmosphere's changed.
Italy is waking up.
It's people that count,
we need to be heard.
We want a big turnout at the march.
There's more of us,
we're the majority.
The Mafia must go.
Tot Riina was captured this morning.
Tot Riina is ours.
We were shocked when we saw
Tot Riina for the first time.
This shabby moron
responsible for the murders
of Falcone and Borsellino.
This moron had devastated our lives,
our country.
Riina Salvatore...
...son of Giovanni...
...born on 16th November 1930.
- In?
- Corleone
Have you ever heard of 'Cosa Nostra'?
I've never met any criminals
from Cosa Nostra.
The question was, have you heard of it?
No, I haven't.
Ask someone else.
Don't focus on me, Salvatore Riina,
a poor farmer struggling to provide
for his family.
They could've arrested him earlier.
They stopped him when it suited them.
It was all a set-up.
He still gave orders from jail.
He ruled.
I hate these photos.
They're unbearable -
a rock on my shoulders.
This child witnessed his father's murder
at a petrol station,
he probably knew the killers,
so they murdered him.
It was the first time I'd seen a dead child.
Murdered like a dog.
They call themselves 'Men of Honour'.
What honour?
They even kill children
and women.
We mustn't be ruled by fear.
Fear is a luxury we can't afford.
I feel free
because I'm free inside.
We mustn't give in to cowardly men
who kill in the shadows.
The head of the Corleone Mafia,
Boss of Bosses, Bernardo Provenzano...
...had been hiding for 42 years,
no one could find him.
He never uses a mobile phone.
He uses 'Pizzini'.
Bits of paper with instructions...
...are passed from hand to hand,
from town to town.
A slow but efficient system.
A system invented by an evil genius.
Bernardo Provenzano
looked like a frail, old man.
Such a cruel smile.
So cruel.
I've seen smiles like that before
on people who never surrender.
Many Mafia men live a hard life in hiding.
They don't enjoy their money.
But they have power.
In Sicilian, they say:
"Power is better than fucking".
Give him the death penalty!
I dream of a Sicily free of the Mafia.
I yearn for it. I long to see it.
Bastard assassin!
I believe in the next generation.
I really believe
in what today's kids can do.
It's nice when your work is appreciated
but success tires me out.
I prefer love.
I thought I'd finished with love.
I was happy with that for 20 years.
No one loved me.
No one had a kind word for me.
No one made me feel at peace.
I was fine on my own.
Recently, I've met someone.
It amazes me
that we're in a relationship.
I was 38 when he was born.
I'd already lived a lot.
Roberto loves transsexual people
and cross-dressers.
He loves them and me.
I didn't want...
...a sexual relationship with a man.
Our relationship is sexual,
but we don't have sex.
I'm interested in his mind.
I was frightened by his pictures.
I didn't understand his world.
I felt I was falling
into an unknown world.
It's hard to explain.
People are confused.
I suddenly appeared in Letizia's life.
People said "Who's this guy?"
I have to be brave too.
Imagine what people are saying.
They talk about us.
No one dares say anything to me.
Not even my friends.
I see it in their eyes.
Giovanna, take it off.
Take it off.
Come on, drag it behind you.
Walk by.
I don't feel guilty.
I know my behaviour hasn't pleased... children,
my lovers, my friends,
but I'm not guilty of anything.
I was committed to my work.
I did my best.
People who disapprove can fuck off.
I'm going to live until my last breath.
In my mind,
I feel more powerful than ever.
Stronger and more powerful.
I think it's beautiful being this old.
I don't miss anything.
My mind is sharp.
I'm not afraid of the end.
I'm so strong.
I'm not afraid of the end.