A case can be made that actor Toni Servillo is one of the best actors today, in and out of Italy, and I think this year’s Venice Film Festival will serve to prove it. He’s in Marco Bellocchio’s La Bella Addormentata and also Daniele Ciprì’s È Stato Il Figlio – It Was The Son, playing Nicola, the head of a family in a poor suburb of Palermo.
When one of his daughters is randomly killed by Mafia crossfire, the family asks for and receives the government compensation given to victims of Mafia violence, and with the money they buy a luxury car, a Mercedes. This car becomes “a symbol of wealth, the poverty of wealth, an instrument of defeat and of ruin”.
When a son takes the car out for the night and scratches the door, Nicola is enraged and becomes violent, so when he is killed, the police say that “it was the son”, and he did it in self-defense. Is it an open and shut case, or should the police be looking at the mother, who would do anything to maintain the family’s new “social status”?
The mother is played by Giselda Volodi, who fans of Silvio Soldini movies know as Maria Libera in Agata e La Tempesta and the Pensione Owner in Pane e Tulipani.
Director: Daniele Ciprì
Writers: Roberto Alaimo (novel), Daniele Ciprì (screenplay)
Stars: Toni Servillo, Giselda Volodi and Alfredo Castro