Italy, 2002, 94 minutes, Colour.
Donatella Finocchiaro, Andrea de Stefano.
Directed by Roberta Torre.
Roberta Torre is a Milanese director who moved to Palermo and has made several films showing Sicilian life. Angela is based on a true story, a more local and modest Mafioso story. Angela works in her husband's shoe store, where they use the delivery of shoes as a cover for drug distribution. Several family members and friends are in on the operation as couriers and accountants. When an attractive young man comes to join the group, Angela and he fall in love. They are taped in their meetings by the police who are suspicious of the drug deals.
When everyone is arrested, the police ask Angela to turn state's witness and they will destroy the tapes. Angela is
bound into the Mafia code and refuses to collaborate. All except her husband who is in jail are under house arrest. The pressure mounts on Angela, faithful to her husband, still enamoured of her lover. What future can she have?
The film initially shows how the drug distribution works. Then it moves into Angela's emotional dilemmas. Finally, it focuses on law and justice issues. Donatella Finocchiaro, lawyer turned amateur actress, combines the smouldering beauty of the Italian actress tradition of Magnani and Loren with the limits of the Palermo housewife who enjoyed the good life and who has to face an obscure future.
1. A story of Sicily? Palermo? The Mafia? From a woman's perspective?
2. The Palermo settings, the shop, the homes? The city itself? The port? Prisons? Authentic atmosphere? The Italian musical score?
3. The film based on a true story, Angela herself, her background, the marriage, her involvement in the drug dealing? Her comfortable life?
4. The character of Angela: seeing her delivering the drugs, working in the shop, the shop assistant? Her marriage to her husband, his being older, the child? The comforts that the drug dealing brought? Her taking this for granted? The arrival of Masino, attracted towards him, fearing that he was the police? The beginning of the affair? The police taping the couple? The police closing in on the drug dealers, the murder by Saro? The mass arrests? The arraignments? Angela and her being under house arrest? Her wanting to continue the relationship with Masino? Her visiting her husband in prison and being faithful to him? The police and the interrogation, wanting her to give evidence, promising to destroy the tapes? Her staying within the Mafia code of silence? The court case, her husband being found guilty? The others all free? Her going to visit him, his having been informed about the affair, the visit and his anger with her? Seeing Masino, his promise to be with her, inviting her to come back every day to wait for him? The final scenes of her waiting and his not returning? The portrait of a Sicilian woman of the 80s, possibilities and choices? The postscript and her living in obscurity as a dressmaker?
5. The gang, the family members, the tight control? Using the shoe sales as a cover for drug delivery and collection of money? The people involved, the accountants? Masino and his joining the group? Angela and her involvement? The dangers, the murder?
6. The police, the crackdown against drug distribution? Taping, interrogations? The trials? Penalties?
7. A glimpse of another world? A woman trying to find her place in this world, succumbing to comfort and ease, losing it all? Losing out in relationships? The film as a moral fable?