Tutorial Transcript

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my channel! So, today I want to discuss a problem that I consider very important, an issue that should be talked about more, which is the romanticisation of mafia in foreign films. I prepared some notes, it's quite a complex topic, so if you'll have the patience of listening to me, you will understand the point I'm trying to make. So, why this video? It all started the other day, when I had the misfortune of watching yet another foreign film where mafia is romanticised. Maybe you have already figured out which movie I'm talking about, and you might agree with me that that movie is problematic in every way. That's because of two main points, really since it justifies and showcases violence on women in a positive light and because it perpetuates the idea that every italian is part of the mafia, implicating that the mafia is accepted by society. The way that film treats these topics with such lightness is terrifying. And when it comes to mafia specifically, this almost always happens in foreign films. This is why I wanted to talk about this, so you could understand the point of view of an Italian person living in Italy, who knows the problem– and maybe that's why I could help with giving you a real version of the situation. Let's take a step back and establish what mafia is. To answer this question, which is not a simple one, I will help myself by reading some parts of this book: "La mafia spiegata ai ragazzi" (The mafia explained to kids), by Antonio Nicaso If you want to read a book in Italian that's written in an easy and direct way, and that speaks of this problem specifically, I suggest you read this book. At the end of the video I also have suggested other resources that you can look up to help you understand it all better. "Mafia isn't just a form of crime, but something much more powerful, organised, and dangerous. Its objective is to gain money and power, to do so it uses violence and murder, if necessary. To define it with just few words: power trip. The mafia doesn't have positive values, those who believe that mafiosi (members of the mafia) are honorable men is wrong. What honour can a man have when he kills women and children, and takes advantage of honest workers?" Okay, so this definition is just an introduction to the problem. I would add that the mafia isn't cool, it isn't glamour– mafia is the cancer of our own society. So you'll understand when I say that I'm tired of seeing mafia being represented under a romantic light in foreign media. Because it isn't. As a consequence, this romanticised and idealised representation makes the problem seems trivial and minimal, giving importance to individuals that are in fact, criminals. It's offensive towards those that fight against the mafia and that have died because of it. I want to be very clear: us Italians don't like having the mafia in our country. This isn't something we're proud of. So imagine how we feel when we see such representations in foreign countries, representations that are extremely far from reality. Even the way mafiosi are represented as good looking in the movies, as if being good looking justifies their actions, makes me think that whoever made those films has never seen a mafioso. They're everything but good looking. So you'll ask: can we talk about mafia in films? Sure, we have to talk about it! But we must be careful as to how we talk about it, because if it is talked about, it needs to be denounced and not praised. It has to be talked about to show its crude reality, not as if it's a fairy-tale. Movies have huge power, they help set certain ideas and images in people's minds. They need to be well made so that they can be fundamental tools in chastising certain situations and also to contextualise certain situations. Because, obviously, if I watch such a movie I can tell that movie is pure fiction, so I can criticise it. But foreigners watching a film that romanticises mafia, not knowing it and never having witnessed the issue from up close, how do you think they will react to the movie? They'll think "ah, how nice mafia members are handsome, romantics, passionate– mafia can't be that dangerous." Why am I telling you this? Because unfortunately internationally there are a lot of examples where mafia is praised, one way or another. To help you understand how distorted the view of the issue is and how clueless people are of it, I'll make an example: in 2018 (only two years ago) after Italy reporting the issue, The European Parliament annulled the brand "La Mafia se sienta a la mesa", a chain of restaurant in Spaign, because of the following reasons: "it gives an overall positive image of mafia's actions and makes it so that its criminal acts are perceived as trivial." Obviously, this is only one of many examples that I could talk about, and I wanted to mention it because action was taken towards it. In this specific case, mafia gets talked about as if it was a fun theme, like an amusement park. Imagine Disneyland, but mafia themed. I don't think you'd want to really sit at the same table as someone who melted children in acid, would you? So why open a restaurant that praises this sort of life? So, if someone informed themselves, read about it, really understood the damage that such marketing decisions have on society, maybe these things won't happen anymore. But I also realise that behind most things there's lack of valuable ideals– there's only want for money and gain, at everyone else's detriment. I want to highlight that I don't care about the dangerous image this creates, it doesn't worry me what worries me most is the damage this gives to the fight against mafia. Because mafia exists, therefore the fight against mafia exists too. To really understand the difficult life of those that fight against the mafia every single day, you'll have to watch some Italian films that discuss the topic. For example, "I cento passi (the 100 steps)" by Marco Tullio Giordana, which tells Peppino Impastato's story, who gave his life to fight against mafia. Or you can watch a more recent movie, "A mano disarmata (with unarmed hand)" which talks about the true story of Federica Angeli, a journalist that lives under close protection since 2013, because she is actively fighting Ostia's organised crime through articles and investigations. Her life isn't nice or romantic, it isn't full of passion, it isn't glamour. Her life is constantly filled with death threats, to her and her children. These are only two examples I'm making in this video, but they are important ones regardless, since it is thanks to people like them that in recent years we have made some steps forward in this fight– this means things can change. So you understand how romanticising the mafia is disrespectful towards those that dedicate their entire life to fighting against such crime? These people fight on the front lines for our freedom. So, I'm gonna repeat it because it's important: the romanticised and "passionate" representation of mafiosi makes it so that their crimes is trivialised and minimised, when it is a problem that afflicts our society. I decided to make this video because there are still too many people that think it is all a work of fiction. After talking about it on instagram, i realised that there are still too many foreign people that today, in 2020, still think that the mafia doesn't exist anymore, and that think it's only an issue on the screen. I received messages from people asking "Oh, so the mafia still exists there?" or other comments like "Come on, it's just a movie!" No, it isn't just a movie. The mafia goes forward thanks to superficiality and ignorance, and it can only be fought with the weapon that is knowledge. The mafia never interrupted its activities, and those who fight it haven't stopped doing it either. I want to end this video suggesting you more films to watch and books to read. I already mentioned "I cento passi" by Marco Tullio (2000) and "A mano disarmata" by Claudio Bonivento (2019), but you can also watch "La mafia uccide solo d'estate" (the mafia only kills in summer), by Pif (2013); "Il Divo" by Paolo Sorrentino (2008) "Alla luce del sole" (Under the sunlight) by Roberto Faenza (2005); "Gli angeli di Borsellino" (The Angels of Borsellino) by Rocco Cesareo (2003) "Giovanni Falcone" by Andrea and Antonio Frazzi (2006) When it comes to books, you can read "La mafia spiegata ai ragazzi" (The Mafia explained to kids) by Antonio Nicaso; "Cosa Nostra" by John Dickie (available both in english and italian) "Mafia Republic" by John Dickie (also available in italian and english) "Cose di cosa nostra" by Giovanni Falcone and Marcelle Padovani "E' così lieve il tuo bacio sulla fronte" (It's so gentle your kiss on my forehead), by Caterina Chinnici, daughter of judge Rocco Chinnici, who was killed by mafia. In the book she talks about her father and his teachings; And lastly, "Padrini e Padroni" by Nicola Gratteri and Antonio Nicaso. This isn't an easy video to post on Youtube, but I'll do it anyway. Thank you for listening, I'll see you in the next one! Ciao!