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1. I cento passi – One hundred steps  GIORDANA, Marco Tullio, 2000

2Once you're Born You Can No Longer Hide GIORDANA, Marco Tullio, 2005


I cento passi – One hundred steps

This film tells the life and death of Peppino Impastato, a young man killed by Sicilian mafia in 1978 because of his efforts to fight against it. Its title refers to the number of steps that it took to go from Peppino's house to the one of Gaetano Badalamenti, the mafia boss of his territory.

It opens with Peppino as a small child singing the popular song Volare with his brother in the back seat of a car on the way to a family gathering. We can understand that his uncle is a mafia boss in the small town of Cinisi where the story is set; his father is involved in mafia too. Few scenes later, Don Cesare is blown up by a car bomb which was planted by a rival mafia boss. Peppino is only a child but he has to face the cruelty of mafia's power.

After his uncle’s funeral he goes to a local painter, Stefano Venuti, a member of the Communist party in Sicily, to paint a picture of Cesare. Stefano did not get along with Cesare when he was alive because of their great difference in political views but he cannot really tell Peppino why he cannot paint him. That's how Stefano ends up taking Peppino under his wing, representing for him a second father and introducing him in political engagement, with particular attention to the instances of the Communist party: the story then jumps to when Peppino is a young adult protesting against the government expropriating land that belonged to local farmers to build an airport.

Peppino becomes more and more extreme in his hatred for the mafia and his need to expose all of the corruption that is happening in the town. He starts writing articles denouncing the crimes and oppression of the mafia system, he names the names of the mafia bosses, he simply tells in a loud voice what everybody knows. He also creates a radio station with his friends called “Radio Aut” which told about Don Tano’s participation in the drug trade, using also sarcastic thones to defy the boss. At this point Peppino’s father is under a lot of pressure to make his son stop what he is doing: he gets kicked out of his family’s house but his mother is still looking out for him. He decides to run for office in a local election running under a very small leftist party while continuing his radio crusade.

But he has become too dangerous: his victory in the elections could threaten the mafia's power. So, during the night of 9th May 1978, they have men follow him in his car one night and when he stops at a railroad crossing they drag him out of his car, tie him to the railroad tracks with TNT and blow him up. His friends realize that something's up and go looking for Peppino. They see his blood and protest vehemently to the police to investigate it as a murder but the police, influenced by the mafia, rule the case as terrorist act, and then later on as a suicide and leave. At his funeral there is a huge demonstration of support from the many people who he had made an impact on in his ten years of anti-mafia and Communist party work. But in the meanwhile, Italy's attention is taken by another murder: in Caetani street, in Rome, it's found a car which contains the corpse of Aldo Moro, the premier kidnapped two months before by the BR, a hard left terrorist organization.

It will take twenty years to have the culprits sent to prison.

This film shows the power of the mafia, with its political connivances and economic interests, but also the less famous part of Italy which fights constantly against this illegal system of money and crime. It is a tribute to all the victims like Peppino: we should not forget them, but take them as a model.

Once you're Born You Can No Longer Hide

Italy 2005

Once you're Born You Can No Longer Hide is a movie successful: in its simplicity manages to make clear two of the many problems facing Italy: illegal immigration and the reaction that many Italians have in front of this problem.

The plot is simple: during a boat holiday with his father, Matteo, the main character, twelve years old, falls into the water at night. It is saved by Radu, Romanian boy who, with his sister Alina and other illegal immigrants, is trying to land in Italy. Once in Italy Matteo tries to help his friends to avoid sending them back to Romania. But nothing is as it seems and if Radu with his latest action surprised the spectators, as Matteo will be able to do with an impulse of love, friendship, sincerity.

The boy, not yet totally corrupted by the mentality of adults, will be able to overcome the barriers, the misunderstandings, the easy racist speeches of his father and friends, the apparent senselessness of a gesture; he will go beyond the betrayal of a friend to try to help and to catch a faint cry of help and need.

And that's what matters. Not so much the conclusion of the event, left pending by the director bravely with a choice unfashionable. For once the end is left to the imagination of the viewer.

But, as written, the important facts have already emerged: the value of knowledge, the need to come into contact with migrants to be able to understand them, to understand that men and women moving from their country only for need and acting in Italy as a result of this need.

We understand the absurdity of many people’s positions on the immigration issue: instead of beginning to think of fighting poverty, they think they have to fight against the victims of poverty, exploited, among other things, by unscrupulous men who charge hundreds men on terrible boats at constant risk of wreck.

We understand the absurdity of some political parties positions that think they can close the borders and send back on the African coast those boats full of men, women, children, who, among other things, may have right of political asylum.

The film shows also the unsustainable contradiction of a country that wants his borders, but, at the same time, is based on the work of millions of migrants.

But there is hope. Yes, there is hope given by that Matteo’s travel by train and given by the refusal of mother call.

So Once You're Born You Can No Longer Hide scratch many prejudices, simply telling a story without having to prove particular theories and without the obligation of telling a story at all costs exemplary.

Added to this there are scenes of great emotional impact as, for example, the sequence where Matteo, who fell from a boat in the sea, with only the prospect of a terrible death, begins to repeat a simple word: "Mamma. "

Therefore a good movie. Exciting, genuine and sincere.

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