by Marianne Wi

This film has been out in Italy for some time and is now doing the International Film Festival scene. It carried the Italian hope for an Oscar last year at the Academy Awards, it fell at the last hurdle and was not nominated. I so wanted to love this film, yet in all honesty it did not quite do the trick. In my eagerness to see it, I  hopped on a Ryanair flight from London to Pisa  early one sunny but freezing Sunday morning, knowing that it was showing in the local cinema. I spent a cool day shopping, lunching and shopping some more, before settling in the Odeon Cinema with some popcorn and a lotta of goodwill for this epic film. You might be aware that in Italy we like our Intervallo after an hour, nothing to do with small bladders,  just the love of Gelato and the need for a cigarette , we are not proud of this fact it is just the way it is. Baaria did not have an Intervallo 150 minutes long  yep 2 hours and 30 minutes and not one Intervallo !  The audience was pointing this out after every scene in between making calls on their mobiles and discussing who the various actors were…….. a family occasion as always .

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore is very famous  outside  for his other films :

Cinema Paradiso earning him an Oscar back in 1989 – The Starmaker, L’ uomo delle stelle – Malena – The Unknown Woman, La sconoscuta.

In post production “Leningrad”. ( I am dreaming, he started writing and speaking about this film back in 2003 surely it must be coming soon )

All really great films so I was just a little disappointed, still if you get the chance and I am sure you will do go and see it. It is out on DVD box set of 3 disks Italian version, Sicilian version and a full DVD with extra information about the making of the  film.

There were controversy ohhhh yes,  more than just a little from Italy’s animal rights groups, who accused Tornatore of deliberately filming the live killing of a cow in Tunisia ,where the laws protecting animals are non existent. Tornatore defended himself by stating that the cow had not been killed for the film but formed part of everyday life in the 1930s and is still part of life in Tunisia. If you are wearing leather shoes then what is your problem ??? if you are a vegetarian then I feel you pain and between you and me the cow was not really killed, it is still happily gracing on a green field in Tunisia.

Cast :  Francesco Scianna, Margareth Made, Enrico Lo Verso,Angela Molina, Raoul Bova, Luigi Lo Cascio, Laura Chiatti, Nicole Grinaudo, Nino Frassica, Aldo, BeppeFiorello, Gaetano Bruno,Monica Bellicci and many many many many more the list is endless.


The film recounts life in the Sicilian town of Baaria from the 1920s to the 1980s, through the eyes of lovers Peppino (Francesco Scianna) and Mannina (Margareth Madè). A Sicilian family depicted across three generations: from Cicco to his son Peppino to his grandson Pietro… Touching lightly upon the private lives of these characters and their families, the film evokes the loves, dreams and disappointments of an entire community in the province of Palermoover five decades: during the Fascist period, Cicco is a humble shepherd who, however, finds time to pursue his passion: books, epic poems, the great popular romance novels. In the days when people go hungry and during World War II, his son Peppino witnesses injustice by Mafiosi and landowners, and becomes a communist. After the war, he encounters the woman of his life. Her family opposes the relationship because of his political ideas, but the two insist and get married, and have children.

Subplots include one about a boy running an errand, a living fly locked inside a top, three rocks people try to hit in one throw, a man mutilating himself to avoid having to fight in the war, looting while the US conquers Sicily, making clothing from an US parachute, and Peppino’s daughter calling her father a fascist for not allowing her to wear a mini-shirt. Running through the film however is the main subplot concerning the history of the Italian left especially the Communist party of which Peppino is a life long member. It charts his fight against injustice and eventual disillusionment in the face of corruption and compromise by his fellow politicians. Courtesy of  Wikipedia sorry chaps but it is a long time since I saw this film.


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