When preparing for the interview with Italian journalist, TV satirist and director Pierfrancesco “Pif” Diliberto, about his debut film La Mafia Uccide Solo d'Estate (The Mafia Only Kills in The Summer), I knew it was not going to be an ordinary interview. We both grew up in Sicily during the 1970s and 1980s, two decades marked by a bloody war for Mafia supremacy, with regular killings of rival mobsters and anti-Mafia crusaders, and his film is the first attempt at explaining what our generation went through.
It is the fictional story of Arturo (Diliberto), a guy born and raised in Palermo during those troubled years. Through satire and with a fancifully dark comedy style reminiscent of Benigni's La Vita è Bella, Diliberto explains how regular people coped living side by side with corrupt politicians and Cosa Nostra's mobsters in Palermo. With a sharp sense of irony, he underlines how ridiculous the position of the state was during those years. In his words: ‘If a 7 year old child like me knew that a certain bar was the place where Mafia mobsters used to hold their meetings, how could the state not know and ignore it!’. He also paints Mafia bosses in their entire humanity, not as negative heroes, but as normal people who chose to be criminals, and as such they could have been stopped.
The film explains also how the assassination of anti-Mafia magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992, began to change Sicilians deeply, especially our generation.
I belong to Diliberto’s generation, I grew up in a different part of Sicily, the South-East, and recently shared with you my experience in a special account of the aftermath of Paolo Borsellino's killing. That's why I knew that Talking to Pif was not going to be an interview, but more of a group ’psychotherapy session '
The one about Addiopizzo (a grassroots movement established in 2004 to build a community of businesses that refuse to pay "pizzo" – Mafia extortion money) and the one entitled Orfani di Mafia (Mafia orphans) where I met the children of Mafia victims, EMP Sonia Alfano (daughter of Beppe Alfano a journalist killed by the Mafia), the daughters of Carmelo Iannì (one of Palermo’s hotelier killed by the Mafia) and Camilla Giaccone, daughter of Paolo Giaccone (a forensic pathologist killed by the Mafia).