“The Mafia Only Kills in Summer” (“La mafia uccide solo d’estate”)
A Black Comedy about Sicily and the Mafia
Arturo is a young boy who grows up in Palermo and he is the focus of this black comedy about 20 years of history of Sicily from 1970s to 1990s. It mocks Mafia Bosses and restores the generosity of the heroes of Antimafia.
Pierfrancesco Diliberto (Pif) is an Italian television star who directed this (his debut in directing) romantic comedy that mixes politics and crime and he also stars in it. in which he also stars as Arturo who narrates the film. He grew up with the mafia and, in fact, his first spoken word was “mafia”. We see that the Sicilian Mafia, in one way or another, has always had an impact in his life. Ever since he was a young boy, Arturo has had a crush on Flora. However, because of the dangerous circumstances in Palermo, he has lost contact with her for a while. His father hearing one of his speeches on television. Arturo’s passion for politics and his curiosity about the criminal activity in Palermo is one of the reasons why he chooses a career in journalism and he will have something of a rough time before he and Flora are reunited.
Director Diliberto shines when exposing the assassinations perpetrated by the Mafiosi and how the people dealt with them and the romantic angle of the film takes a back seat to that. The film looks at the Cosa Nostra and its pernicious influence on the Sicilian population. Arturo is a kind of everyman and we are with him as he matures and deals with life, love, and the mafia. Palermo was a city back then where denial went hand-in-hand with stifled tolerance and a bloody war for Mafia supremacy was carried on with regular assassinations of rival mobsters and anti-Mafia crusaders. We see this through the eyes of Arturo and it is portrayed with humor and wit (as much as one can do with the Mafia). One critic has called the film, “Forest Gump takes on the mob”. You may not understand how someone can make the mafia and organized crime appear funny and for this alone the film is worth seeing—but there is much more to see as well. The title of the film comes from one of the many disingenuous myths that Arturo, the film’s gullible young hero comes to believe. While the film is very funny there is something very serious here.
The story is related in flashbacks and is a fictional biography of Arturo who was born on the same day as Vito Ciancimino, the mayor with links to the Mafia was elected. On that day there was also a massacre that was planned by a legendary crime boss. We see Arturo as a child and he harbors a crush on classmate Flora (Ginevra Antona).
The film is set in what was probably the most dramatic in the history of Sicily and Palermo. Arturo learned early that nothing in Sicily is what it seems to be and also that many things can get a person killed. What I really like here is that I learned a lot about Sicily as I laughed through the film. The cast is excellent all around and while it is a comedy, it does deal with murders and assassinations.