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Film / Filibus

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Filibus: Il misterioso pirata del cielo (Filibus: The Mysterious Pirate of the Skies) is a 1915 Italian silent film about a lady thief who operates out of an airship. The main character is Filibus, and her alter ego is the Baroness de Troixmonde. She flies around robbing banks and stealing jewelry. She is pursued by the famous detective Hardy, who is trying to find his identity. In an amazing scene of audacity, she tells him that he is Filibus. By the film's climax, he starts to believe it.

Filibus didn't get much attention when it was first released, and World War I spread into Italy soon afterward, destroying the country's film industry. It's been gradually rediscovered in the twenty-first century, and was remastered in 2017 for numerous film festival engagements. A restored DVD release is said to be on its way from Milestone Films.


This film includes examples of:

  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Filibus is a true lady, being the Baroness de Troixmonde. She is only seen going after high-class targets.
  • Cool Airship: Filibus's airship includes an elevator that can lower her to the ground without her enemies knowing.
  • Couple Theme Naming: It's probably no coincidence that Leo and Leonora, the two points of the Love Triangle who end up together, have matching names.
  • Dub Name Change: The single surviving print of this film is a Dutch release version with translated titles. Filibus's opponent is Inspector Hardy in this print, but the Italian publicity materials call him Detective Kutt-Hendy, so there seems to have been a name change in translation.
  • Engineered Heroics: Filibus has her Mooks kidnap Leonora so that she can show up as the Count de la Brive, save the day, and sneak with her new identity into Inspector Hardy's social circle.
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  • Faceless Goons: Filibus's airship is stocked with a handful of silent, deadpan, completely indistinguishable crewmen.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: Inspector Hardy attempts to trick Filibus with a false jewel (with a hidden camera, to boot; see "Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb" below). It works exactly the opposite way he expects.
  • Just Friends: When Leo Sandy declares his love for Leonora, she totally friend-zones him.
  • Love Triangle: Leo is in love with Leonora, who is in love with the Count de la Brive. When the Count turns out to be Filibus, they decide the natural course of action is for Leo and Leonora to get engaged.
  • Meaningful Name: The Baroness de Troixmonde does indeed live in "three worlds" (trois mondes in French): she has identities as a local posh lady, a visiting posh count, and Filibus.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The diamond eyes of the Egyptian cat statue.
  • One-Word Title
  • Rescue Romance: Romance blossoms after Filibus "saves" Leonora from the staged abduction. (It's left ambiguous whether this was a goal of the rescue or an unexpected side effect.)
  • Sky Pirate: Filibus is a Classy Catburglar who operates out of a Cool Airship.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: A non-explosive example: Hardy's fake jewel is rigged with a hidden camera. He assumes that when Filibus reaches for it, the sky pirate's identity will finally be caught on film.
  • Spy Cam: Hidden in the Egyptian cat.

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