Shooting the Mafia

Shooting the Mafia

classified 15


Please note: This was screened in Dec 2019

Kim Longinotto
Letizia Battaglia
94 mins, 2019, Ireland
Primary language:

Documentary virtuoso Kim Longinotto turns her camera on pioneering woman and artist Letizia Battaglia, whose gritty photographs of Palermo's La Cosa Nostra made her one of Italy's foremost observers of Mafia crime during the bloody 1970s.

Speeding past police on a Vespa with a camera strung around her neck, Letizia Battaglia cut a striking image — not only as the country's first female photographer to work for a daily paper, but as a woman who found an unconventional calling in the second half of her life. After getting married at age 16 to escape a controlling father, Letizia was then prevented from attending school by her husband. Battling mental illness and the confines of domesticity, in her 30’s she found liberty as a crime scene photographer documenting lawlessness in the Sicilian Mafia. Undaunted by threats, her advocacy for common people eventually sparked yet another career as an activist politician. Now in her 80s, with a shock of pink hair as fiery as her personality, she remains an indomitable woman who charts her own course.

Weaving together Battaglia’s striking black-and-white photographs, rare archival footage, classic Italian films, and Battaglia’s memories, Longinotto’s poignant and inspiring documentary paints a portrait of a remarkable woman whose bravery and defiance helped expose, and put an end to, Cosa Nostra's violent regime.

Download Programme Notes (PDF)