The Sicilian Girl

The Sicilian Girl (2009) was directed by Marco Amenta. The stars are Veronica D’Agostino as Rita, the Sicilian Girl of the title, and Gerard Jugnot as the Judge/Prosecutor who takes up Rita’s case.

What was her case?

The film is taken from the real life story of a Rita Atria, whose  father was shot and murdered on the orders of a rival Mafia chieftan in a small Sicilian town. The real life Rita swore revenge, but was dissuaded by her older brother who counseled her to be patient and to wait. Years pass. The brother also falls victim in another assassination.

It is to this background, that 7 years later, the now grown Rita decides to seek revenge via justice, so she seeks out a Palermo Judge/Prosecutor she long ago admired for his guts.

The film takes us through Rita’s early years to her days in witness protection and then. the trial. This is a powerful story. The Sicilian traditions about honor and revenge, and the overriding element called omerta (code of silence) that not only protects the population to a degree but also enslaves society to the few powerful men who are protected by this silence.

Since no one will dare to speak against them, they do as they please. Criminal activities like extortion and racketeering, drugs, gambling, and prostitution keep these Mafia families awash in money.

Even Rita’s mother maintained the omerta. She valued this even above her own family. When confronted by Rita, the mother’s explanation was,

“He’d come home with the blood and the brains of his target who he killed at close range on his clothes. What could I do.”

Yes it is a powerful story. Society held captive. People living in fear of retribution if they spoke out. When Rita’s father is murdered right in front of her, and she calls for help from anyone, she  hears only the closing of shutters, the slamming of doors. No one would dare to help her. No one would get involved. No one would come to offer support. She was only a small girl and her father had just been murdered before her eyes.

The film itself is absorbing, engrossing, and we too are held captive by it. Veronica D’Agostino is superb as this fearless woman, who dared to challenge the Mafia. We admire her spirit and yet we are saddened by her own blindness to her own family’s connections to the Mafia.

Eventually Rita will comprehend the realities the truths which she knew but kept submerged, and will take a stand.

The movie is worth seeing, and you will be haunted by the parochial horrors of that local life, as in living under the Mafia’s thumb. But you will notice the film’s flaws as well. The script has gaps. The other characters, besides Rita and the Judge, are thinly drawn and and not well developed. The look and texture of the film is dark and brooding.

This is a film that you will watch but afterwards you won’t be savoring the splendid visual moments. Because they’re few and far between. But you will definitely remember the story.

The Trailer <—click


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