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Film / The Mafia Kills Only in the Summer

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The Mafia Kills Only in the Summer (original title: La mafia uccide solo d'estate) is a 2013 drama/comedy film that marks the directorial debut of Pif a.k.a. Pierfrancesco Diliberto, an Italian television host, actor and humorist most famous for his program "Il Testimone" (The Witness), a documentary-like look to several everyday life events and stories done in a competent yet satirical tone.

Pif uses the same approach for this film that tells the life of Arturo, a kid born in Palermo, whose entire life is inextricably linked to the Mafia that extended its influence all over the city, Sicily and beyond, and who later grows to be a journalist. The film is notable for its juxtaposition of fiction and actual footage of newsreels, and a style that is alternately satirical, candidly humorous and bleakly realistic. Expect Mood Whiplash every ten minutes or so.

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The film won the prize for Best Comedy at the 27th European Film Awards.

It has been adapted into a successful TV Series, with Pif as narrator.


The film provides examples of:

  • Babies Ever After: In the end Arturo gets engaged to his childhood crush Flora, they have a kid and the film ends with Arturo showing his son all the gravesites of the people who died fighting against the mafia.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: The movie starts with adult Arturo's voiceover stating that he was born right when the Viale Lazio massacre took place, which is then recreated in all of its gory detail. The violent scenes are juxtaposed with images of sperm getting scared by the gunshots and allowing the one who will become Arturo to fecundate his mom.
  • Camp Gay/Camp Straight: Jean-Pierre, host of a local TV program and Arturo's first employer. His actual orientation is never stated or commented upon, but he's surely very camp, what with the absurd French accent he uses every time (Jean-Pierre is not his actual name), his affectations and the fact that he lives with his mother despite being well over 40.
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  • Copycat Cover: One of the posters for the film is similar to the one for the Italian film Il divo, released a few years before. Justified in that they're both inspired by the famous posture of Giulio Andreotti, the man whose life Il divo is based on, and who is Arturo's childhood idol in Pif's film.
  • Evil-Detecting Baby: Arturo has the uncanny ability to tell if someone is part of the Mafia — his first word is indeed mafia, referring to the priest who baptized him and who in fact was in cahoots with the mafiosi. Later on he gets scared by someone who is then revealed as being Salvatore "Totò" Riina.
  • Mood Whiplash: Everywhere, especially when accounting Pif's snarky narration over real-life footage of newsreels, cleverly inserted into the film.
    • The biggest example is probably when, after a comedic scene where Totò Riina doesn't understand how air conditioning works and is seen futzing with the remote, another mafioso (probably Giovanni Brusca) is seen pushing the button of the remote which detonated the explosives that murdered judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three policemen.
  • Title Drop: The title comes from a speech Arturo's dad makes to him when he's a kid, telling him not to be scared because it's winter and the mafia only kills in summer.

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