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The Godfather of Godfathers

Director Mosco Levi Boucault
Image Jan Zabrana – Alessandro Spinato – Claudio Valerio
Original Score Dmitry Evgrafov
Narration Nathalie Bauer
Editing Jan Zabrana – Catherine Gouze
Mixing Michele Tarantola
Sound Editing
Vincent Guillon
Length Part 1 : 78mins Part : 68mins
Versions French – Italian – English
Copyrights ZeK – ARTE France – 2019
Broadcaster ARTE France – ARTE Distribution

Part 1: Power through Blood

Mosco Levi Boucault’s two-part documentary film retraces the extraordinary fate of Toto Riina (1930-2017), the son of a poor peasant from Corleone, a Sicilian village located 60 km from Palermo, who became the godfather of the Sicilian Mafia’s godfathers, the Cosa Nostra. A neither mythical nor romantic story, but a wild and bloody tale, an almost Shakespearean plot, punctuated by hundreds of murders, centred around the eternal conflict between the thirst for power and the virtue of the law. Backed by the unpublished and striking testimonies of repentant mafia killers, this first part recounts the compelling and ruthless rise of a reckless and ambitious man who uses murder and intrigue to become part of the “triumvirate” that runs Cosa Nostra. From there, he creates a climate of terror by assassinating those who oppose him within Cosa Nostra and by murdering, for the first time in the history of the mafia, representatives of the institutions that fight him: journalists, magistrates, politicians, policemen. This escalation culminated in 1982 with the murder of General Dalla Chiesa, sent by Rome to restore order in Sicily. Toto Riina then reigned over Sicily with total impunity.


Part 2: The fall

The assassination of General Dalla Chiesa in 1982 is the one crime too many. Facing this direct attack, the Palermo public prosecutor’s office sends after Toto Riina a team of magistrates specialized in prosecuting businessmen and politicians whose ties to the mafia had previously made them untouchable. Toto Riina responds to this threat by having Judge Chinicci killed by a car bomb. Two young judges from Palermo, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, make the battle against the mafia the fight of their lives. Thanks in particular to the testimony of one of Riina’s former rivals determined to take revenge, they eventually manage to issue hundreds of arrest warrants against Cosa Nostra. In 1986, and despite the climate of terror cultivated by the fugitive Toto Riina, still on the run, the “maxi-trial” of 475 defendants begins in Palermo. It will lead to very heavy sentences, among which Toto Riina’s sentence to life imprisonment in absentia. This historic verdict will be confirmed against all odds on appeal and in cassation. Enraged, Riina plans two murderous dynamite attacks against Judges Falcone and Borsellino in 1992. A double tragedy remembered by the Sicilians as a September 11th ahead of its time. Toto Riina is finally arrested in 1993, and dies in prison. This bloody war took place on a dark and sunny island, in the middle of Europe, between 1977 and 1994.