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Palermo, a Hundred Steps into the West

creato da Elena Guarneri ultima modifica 20/06/2008 15:14

Paolo Briguglia, co-star of "The Hundred Steps", talks to us about the film's atmospheric setting - Palermo.

Paolo Briguglia
"There's everything you want here. Just name it! Contemporary art? We've got the highway to Sciacca - with its huge half-finished concrete flyovers - the original road to nowhere."

IP: Joking aside Paolo, tell us about hidden Palermo.

"First of all I'd like to dispel the notion that Palermo is a dangerous city for tourists. It's relatively easy, and hassle-free, to tour around. Although this is probably a sign that the Mafia is running the show to perfection. We could start off at the Zingaro Natural Reserve [ita], which is near San Vito Lo Capo: 7 kilometres of natural coastline that have been miraculously saved from speculators. There are no cars allowed inside the reserve and you can stay overnight in stone houses, although they are rather spartan. Book accommodation before going through the Forest Rangers in Castellammare."

IP: And in Palermo itself?
"We could go to Piazza Maggione, and see the wonderful church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo [ita]. Up until a few years ago it was still in the condition it had been left in after the Allied bombing raids during the war. Then Orlando, the lord mayor of the time, renovated it for the G8 conference. He even planted an eccentric English-style green in the square which as soon as the conference was over became a playground for the local kids."

IP: What about the Vucciria market?
"It's become a bit too touristy. I prefer the Capo market. It's got great bread and fish, but don't get too picky over your purchases because the stall holders take offence easily. Just let them serve you. But be warned, on bad days they'll try to pass off stale goods on you!"

IP: "The Hundred Steps" is about Sicily and inevitably the Mafia. How did the people of Cinisi react to this film on the tragic death of Giuseppe Impastato?
"The shutters were drawn on lots of windows for the duration of filming. When it comes down to it, Cinisi is still a Western-style town. Everything happens in the main street because there are no back streets. Pasquale Scimeca is right when he says that the Mafia is our west."

IP: The Centro Siciliano di Documentazione was named after Giuseppe Impastato. The Centre has been open since 1977 and aims to promote 'law and order'. Are there any other places like this in Palermo?
"The situation is fairly drastic. There are lots of ideas but very few of them are put into practice. The Church has been important with initiatives such as the Centro di Santa Chiara, a place where immigrants can meet and become integrated into the community."

Famous Mafia victims such as Dalla Chiesa, Falcone and Borsellino all have plaques in their honour. But is there a monument to all Mafia victims?
"Yes. There's a very strange rusty iron monument on the seafront. One of my friends tells a story of when he was going past it on bus one day and he overheard one man say to another: "What's dat ting over der?" "Dats a monument for the ones against the Mafia", answers the man's friend. You see, people don't like to talk about victims here."

IP: In Marco Tullio Giordana's film, what does your character think about the Mafia?
"My character Giovanni, Peppino Impastato's brother, doesn't approve of the Mafia but he still can't bring himself to make a stance against them because he doesn't have the same degree of 'folly' as Peppino. Giovanni is like any one of us. Ordinary people who aren't heroes or Mafia hit men. People who'd like to change things within the safety of a group."  


The Hundred Steps - - eng - For more about the film and its director
Visit Palermo's markets - - eng -
Find out about Palermo's art and history - - eng -
Tourism in Cinisi - - eng -

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