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The Traitor

Marco Bellocchio
Il traditore
Italy, France, Brazil, Germany 2019 / 155’
The Souvenir Young Ahmed

Presented in the competition at Cannes, The Traitor is a suspenseful film that bares little resemblance to popular Mafia stories. In his highest-budget film, Bellocchio doesn’t hesitate to give audiences a raw reconstruction of brutal events instead of a romantic Godfather-style gangster story. At the center of it all is Tommaso Buscetta, a crime boss who violates omertà, the Mafia’s code of silence. He was the key witness in the best-known trial against La Cosa Nostra: The so-called Maxiproces led to the conviction of 362 mafiosi. This fascinating film investigation focuses on the transformation of Buscetta, for whom La Cosa Nostra—“This thing of ours”—took on a completely different meaning from what the bosses expected. It is important to note that the director doesn’t psychologize; he doesn’t guess as to the criminal’s intentions but rather paints a passionate sketch of a situation involving a man first prosecuted by the police, and later by the Mafia, and who spent most of his life in hiding. “What I like about this character is that he’s neither a victim nor a hero, Bellocchio told Variety. “He’s a very determined man, always on the run. He’s a survivor.

Małgorzata Sadowska


Italian Golden Globes 2019 - Best Director, Original Score; International Cinephile Society Awards 2019 - Grand Prix; Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists 2019 - Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Score, Actor, Supporting Actor

Marco Bellocchio

Born in 1939, Marco Bellocchio is an Italian director and screenwriter. He studied philosophy before taking up film studies in Rome. Already in his debut, Fists in the Pocket, he earned a reputation as a rebel with a keen interest in the family. In subsequent films, he criticized the bourgeoisie (China Is Near), schools (In the Name of the Father), the press (Slap the Monster on Page One) and the army (Victory March). In the following decades, he started making adaptations, including works by Chekhov and Kleist, and collaborating with psychoanalyst Massimo Fagiolim (Devil in the Flesh , The Butterfly’s Dream). He returned to form in the 2000s, especially in his intelligent satire on the Church, My Mother’s Smile (European Film Award); his settling of accounts with terrorism, Good Morning, Night (best screenplay award in Venice); and the drama Vincere, with its focus on Mussolini’s lover (winner of eight Donatello awards). In 2014, Bellocchio received a special David di Donatello Award for lifetime achievement.

Selected filmography

1965 Pięści w kieszeni / I pugni in tasca  / Fists in the Pocket

1967 Chiny są blisko / La Cina è vicina / China Is Near

1971 W imię ojca / Nel nome del padre / In the Name of the Father

1972 Dajcie sensację na pierwszą stronę / Sbatti il mostro in prima pagina / Slap the Monster on Page One

1980 Skok w pustkę / Salto nel vuoto / A Leap in the Dark

1994 Sen motyla / Il sogno della farfalla / The Butterfly's Dream

2002 Czas religii / L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre) / My Mother's Smile

2006 Reżyser ceremonii ślubnych / Il regista di matrimoni / The Wedding Director

2012 Śpiąca królewna / Bella addormentata / Dormant Beauty

2016 Słodkich snów / Fai bei sogni / Sweet Dreams

Cast & Crew

director Marco Bellocchio
screenplay Ludovica Rampoldi, Valia Santella, Francesco Piccolo
cinematography Vladan Radovic
editing Francesca Calvelli
music Nicola Piovani
cast Pierfrancesco Favino, Luigi Lo Cascio, Fausto Russo Alesi, Maria Fernanda Cândido, Fabrizio Ferracane
producer Beppe Caschetto, Viola Fügen, Simone Gattoni, Caio Gullane, Fabiano Gullane, Alexandra Henochsberg, Michael Weber
production IBC Movie, Kavac Film, Rai Cinema, Ad Vitam Production, Gullane, Match Factory Productions, Arte France
Polish distributor Gutek Film
language Italian, Sicilian, Portuguese, English
colouration colour