69th Venice International Film Festival
Director: Alberto Barbera
Antonio is only eleven when he wins a scholarship and leaves his house in a little village in the Madonie Mountains to study at the Convitto Nazionale “Giovanni Falcone” school in Palermo. But Antonio suffers from homesickness and becomes listless and stand-offi sh. His teacher Mr Carella tries in vain to involve him in working on the school paper which is preparing its commemoration of the anniversary of the Capaci attack. During the school year a football tournament is organised and Antonio decides to fix the deciding match, blackmailing his friend Salvatore, who is going to be the referee. However, doubts and remorse torment him – he is “one of the Falcone schoolboys” as his teacher is constantly reminding him. How can he commit an illegal action on the exact same spot where the judge assassinated by the mafia went to primary school?
Twenty years ago Giovanni Falcone and his close friend Paolo Borsellino died. Thirty years ago Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa and Pio La Torre died. They are names, but they are also symbols, lives lived, examples, hopes. They are diamond points, pure water that flows in the desert of values and behaviour that seem to characterise our times. In an age that imposes as a rule of good taste “an equal formalism of feelings and ideas”, in an age in which corruption and hypocrisy, rhetoric and miserable self interest guide the thoughts and actions of all of us, these just men, whose faces look down on us from the height of their greatness, can still teach us something. The fi rst thing that Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa did when he came to Palermo as the Anti-mafi a Prefect was to go to the schools and talk to the pupils. Some people thought he was wasting his time but he was planting seeds. Pio La Torre’s final political act was to build a large anti-war youth movement. When answering a journalist’s question about why he risked his life on a daily basis, Giovanni Falcone leaned his head against the back of his armchair, then unleashed his widest, most disarming smile and replied: “For public spirit”, which translated into common parlance means “to do my duty”.