Belluscone: A Sicilian Story Screen 7 articles

Belluscone: A Sicilian Story

2014

Belluscone: A Sicilian Story Poster
  • Like Abbas Kiarostami in his similarly beguiling Close-Up, the film allows its participants to reenact events that seem to have already occurred in real life. But whereas Abbas harnessed the sincerity and passion of his subjects to yield something of a catharsis in both participant and viewer, Maresco turns his subjects into caricatures by bringing them into increasingly bold relief as he guides the film toward an aesthetically ambiguous and politically frustrated conclusion.

  • Franco Maresco’s lo-fi mockumentary Belluscone: A Sicilian Story is one of the most curious films on this year’s Festival circuit, idiosyncratic in both its premise and execution... Unfortunately, it doesn’t come together into a cohesive whole – although it doesn’t intend to – but it also doesn’t offer much really in the way of any insight; it feels like a film with a focus spread too thinly, and with a light-hearted approach that obfuscates any tangible cultural or academic worth.

  • A hilarious anti-epic about Berlusconi’s Mafia connections and the way in which his politics of moral debasement via tabloid television have transformed Italy for the worse.

  • It may sound odd to describe a documentary about Silvio Berlusconi’s relations with the Sicilian Mafia as hilarious, but Franco Maresco’s effort is a brilliantly stylized theater of the absurd. The film uses brisk pacing, cheesy theatrical sets, and the ironic narration of film critic Tatti Sanguineti to accentuate the story’s near-unbelievability—which, of course, makes it all the realer.

  • Pitched somewhere between Ferrara’s fictional documentary Napoli Napoli Napoli and Maresco/Cipri’s own mockumentary The Return of Cagliostro, this a deep dive into Italian psychosis under Berlusconi with the added horror of believing that he is not some later day phenomenon but the latest manifestation of historical malaise, less the creator of a vulgar Italy (like in Nanni Moretti’s strong but rather glib Il Caimano) but the canny exploiter of the same.

  • That it took a manic-depressive genius to make the first valuable film on the mastermind of Italy's political circus only adds further evidence to the fact that we need new linguistic ways to describe a world spinning out of control—where “normalcy” often amounts to sheer delirium.

  • Throughout the deconstructionist zigs and zags of the film, the boundaries between documentary and fiction are blurred beyond recognition, but it is precisely in doing so that Belluscone is able to achieve such an incisive probing of the modern Sicilian psyche and its key role in the rise of berlusconismo.

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