Public Life, Imaginary, and Identity in Contemporary Italian Film
Edited By Giancarlo Lombardi and Christian Uva
Giovanna De Luca - Placido Rizzotto and Segreti di Stato: Italian Investigative Cinema and Memory
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Still capture from Placido Rizzotto, by Pasquale Scimeca (Arbash, Rai Cinema)
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GIOVANNA DE LUCA
Placido Rizzotto and Segreti di Stato: Italian Investigative Cinema and Memory
When Pasquale Scimeca’s film Placido Rizzotto was released in 2000, Rizzotto’s earthly remains hadn’t yet been found, and his death was considered a cold case, one of many that have left an ill-explored trail of dry blood since the founding of the Italian Republic. Film-makers have brought to the big screen their interpretations of such cases in an attempt to enlighten audiences about historical and political issues often ignored or swept under the rug by officials. The Rizzotto case, along with the massacre of Portella della Ginestra, are two crimes portrayed by directors of investigative cinema. In this paper I will discuss Placido Rizzotto and Paolo Benvenuti’s film Segreti di Stato (2003), arguing the importance of producing films about unsolved crimes that more often than not were mishandled (or not handled at all) by the authorities, for these movies serve to keep the memory of such incidents alive, and they enable viewers to interpret and reinterpret history.
Scimeca’s movie is based on the true story of the thirty-four-year-old Sicilian union leader involved in the legal fight to provide land grants to peasants. His political activism led to his death at the hands of the young Corleone mafia boss Luciano Leggio, known as Liggio. After Rizzotto’s murder, Liggio...
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