by Marco Tullio Giordana
The film narrates the true story of Peppino Impastato, born and raised in Cinisi, a small town in the province of Palermo, in the 1960s and 1970s and died in a Mafia ambush in 1978. Peppino's childhood was spent with relatives to varying degrees connived with the Mafia. His family, bound by kinship and debt of gratitude to increasingly prominent boss Tano Badalamenti, endures Peppino's intemperances with growing difficulty and embarrassment.
When the latter, with the help of his friends and fellow section members, establishes an independent radio station and begins a harsh and ironic campaign to denounce the Mafia organization, the warnings become increasingly pressing and dangerous. Taking advantage of the current events which present daily episodes of the Red Brigades' attacks, Tano Badalamenti organizes Peppino's execution by simulating an accident during the preparation of a bombing. The wall of conspiracy immediately covers up the truth, but at Peppino's funeral a procession parades with young people waving red flags.
Because of the language used and the themes addressed, The One-hundred Steps lends itself particularly well to programing in junior high schools. The film offers an excellent description of the mafia dynamics and the ethical dilemmas of the protagonist, allowing, as mentioned in the introduction to the film, the viewers’ identification, especially of those in their late teens.
The theme of rebellion and the divide between family logics and adolescent consciousness can also be explored through the viewing of Gabriele Salvatores' film Io non ho paura (Italy, 2003), while an in-depth look at the youthful malaise that leads young people to extreme or hard-breaking choices can be conducted through the viewing of ‘Elephant’ (USA, 2003) by Gus Van Sant, Nemmeno il destino (Italy, 2004) by Daniele Gaglianone, ‘The dreamers’ - I sognatori (GB/France/Italy 2003) and Io ballo da sola (Italy/France/GB, 1996) by Bernardo Bertolucci, I pugni in tasca (Italy, 1965) by Marco Bellocchio. Ludovico Bonora.
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