Presented by RIDM

Quebec premiere
Documentaries from the Edge

Shooting the Mafia

Directed by Kim Longinotto

Credits  

Official selection

Sundance 2019, Berlin International Film Festival 2019

Director

Kim Longinotto

Writer

Kim Longinotto

Cast

Letizia Battaglia

contact

Met Film Sales

Ireland, USA 2019 94 mins OV Italian Subtitles : English

“Engaging and inspiring”
Ted Pillow, THE PLAYLIST

“A fascinating look at the Mafia's vice-like grip on Sicily through the lens of photojournalist Letizia Battaglia”
Ed Gibbs, LITTLE WHITE LIES

“A welcome portrait of a woman, who has lived a strongly feminist life, perhaps without even fully realising it”
Amber Wilkinson, EYE FOR FILM

From the moment she first pointed her lens at the broken remains of a mob victim, Sicilian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia has been waging a decades-long battle with the mafia. She is a fearless — and feared — documenter, having exposed the ravages of organized crime with detail and compassion, bearing witness for the world to ensure that none of these acts can be swept under the rug by intimidated (or corrupted) lawmakers, or be forgotten in their communities. Through her art, she has brought murderers to justice and given voice to the brutalized, while frequently staring down absolute human evil, showing up at mafia funerals, hang-outs and trials. During the worst periods, she sometimes photographed up to five murder scenes in a single day.

Battaglia’s bravery has been a lifelong thing. Having left an oppressive marriage to begin her career in 1971 while raising three daughters — when she was in her forties and her country was at its patriarchal extreme — she has never conceded to male authority or societal norms. Over the years, she’s also done significant work as an activist for women, the environment and prisoner’s rights. Now in her mid-’80s, Battaglia hasn’t lost a shred of her good-hearted fierceness, and remains a vibrant individualist whose personality positively glows.

Celebrated filmmaker Kim Longinotto (PINK SARIS, ROUGH AUNTIES) was determined to make a documentary that would capture the singular photojournalist in all her non-conformist glory, while placing the audience in the centre of the conflicts being discussed. To accomplish this, she’s constructed her film with a combination of material from Battaglia’s personal collection of photos and home movies, excerpts from classic Italian cinema, current-day footage and extensive archival news reports shot on location, the latter of which largely unfold chronologically, giving us a gripping, almost real-time view into the heroes, villains and victims of the ferocious mob war that held the country in fear. Interspersed with this are beautiful personal moments of Battaglia reconnecting with past loves, each of whom clearly still adore her, giving us tender glimpses of the ways she continues to enjoy life on her own terms. Despite featuring a wealth of deeply upsetting imagery, SHOOTING THE MAFIA is a moving and inspirational portrait of bravery and self-determination, the story of an ultimate outsider hero who never met a bully she wouldn’t stand up to and whose art remains a finely honed weapon. – Mitch Davis