69th Venice International Film Festival
Director: Alberto Barbera
The Ciraulo family lives on the outskirts of Palermo. Nicola, the father, manages to support everyone by selling scrap iron from disused ships. Although their life is tough, it’s peaceful. One day a stray bullet, fired by a mafia hit man, kills the youngest daughter. The family’s desperation is immeasurable. There is a glimmer of at least some economic hope when the Ciraulo’s neighbour Giacalone advises Nicola to apply for compensation for mafia victims. Assuming that the money will soon arrive, the family starts spending it before they have even received it, getting into debt with everyone. Nicola falls into the hands of a moneylender, a friend of Giacalone’s. When the money finally arrives, there is not much left once they have paid off their debts. The Ciraulo family do not have a bank account. The money sits on the table with the whole family sitting around it while they decide how they should invest it. Each idea receives short shrift from Nicola, who finally comes up with his own: to buy a Mercedes. A Mercedes is a symbol of wealth, for many people the only real sign that you have escaped poverty. But for the Ciraulo family the Mercedes becomes the symbol of the Misery of Wealth, a tool of defeat and ruin.
language: Italian - s/t English
Toni Servillo, Giselda Volodi, Alfredo Castro, Fabrizio Falco
In this film I rediscovered something of the characters who had inspired me in the past and who will always be dear to me. For example, Busu is a lot like Tirone (the cyclist in Cinico tv) who does a bit of wheeling and dealing to scrape together a bit of cash and does not have relationships with women. This helped me to feel that this was “my” story without betraying Alajmo’s novel. È stato il figlio is the result of my own experiences and the complicity of everyone who accompanied me on this journey. The Ciraulo family could be our family and is the projection of the breakdown in human relations and cultural limitations.