Review: ‘Shooting the Mafia’

Hot Docs 2019

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1 min read

Shooting the Mafia
(Ireland, 94 min.)
Dir. Kim Longinotto
Programme: Artscapes (Canadian Premiere)

Kim Longinotto turns her lens on Letizia Battaglia, an 83-year-old photographer who helped document the violence that has plagued her native Sicily. As one of the first photojournalists to cover the brutal mafia wars, Battagliia has become a fixture in local society, praised for her outspoken nature and keen eye. Unfortunately, Longinotto’s own work seems jumbled and uncertain, and never fully comes to grips with a subject who is admittedly reticent to truly open up about her work and passions. Jumping from era to era, the film never quite coalesces into a coherent portrait, resulting in a doc that is often more frustrating than illuminating.

This is all the more problematic as the subject seems ripe for a rich investigation – how the mafia itself used these tableaus of violence to send a message, in turn both manipulating and feeding off the media’s interest. Instead, Shooting the Mafia affords a genial if unremarkable look at a figure surely deserving of a better film by which her story should be told.

Shooting the Mafia screens:
-Tues, Apr. 30 at 9:30 p.m. at TIFF Lightbox
-Wed, May 1 at 10:15 a.m. at Isabel Bader
-Sun, May 5 at 9:15 p.m. at Isabel Bader

Visit the POV Hot Docs Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival!

Hot Docs runs April 25 to May 5. Please visit hotdocs.ca for more info.

Jason Gorber is a film journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the Managing Editor/Chief Critic at ThatShelf.com and a regular contributor for POV Magazine, RogerEbert.com and CBC Radio. His has written for Slashfilm, Esquire, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Screen Anarchy, HighDefDigest, Birth.Movies.Death, IndieWire and more. He has appeared on CTV NewsChannel, CP24, and many other broadcasters. He has been a jury member at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, Calgary Underground Film Festival, RiverRun Film Festival, TIFF Canada's Top 10, Reel Asian and Fantasia's New Flesh Award. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years.

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