Inspired by true events, this dark comedy tells the story of a young man growing up in the turbulent city of Palermo during the 1970s. ‎La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate (The Mafia Kills Only in Summer) mixes coming-of-age romance with 20 years of history, a film that is as comedic as it is heartrending.

Written and directed by Pierfrancesco Diliberto (a journalist and satirist known simply as “Pif” to the Italian public), La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate follows the story of Arturo Giammarresi (Diliberto), whose dreams of becoming a journalist and marrying his childhood love, Flora (Cristiana Capotondi), are intertwined with the historic murders that terrorise his city.

From his bizarre childhood hero-worship of Giulio Andreotti, the 41st Prime Minister of Italy, to growing up to work for Salvatore Lima, a politician who was shot and killed by the mob, Arturo’s life is rounded by the pervasive Sicilian Mafia and the men who tried to dismantle it. And yet, despite the persistent violence, there are still glimmers hope and love in this evocative story.

This is an oddly sentimental film considering its macabre subject, but perhaps that’s what makes our favourite touching movie moments so powerful, that they always seem to come from nowhere, and appear in the most unexpected of places.

Diliberto is a fantastically funny actor, and his film is full of dry humour and first-rate comedic timing. La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate was even awarded Best Comedy Film at the 27th European Film Awards. But woven between these moments of hilarity is a film that mocks Mafia bosses and beatifies the names of politicians, martyred while trying to bring peace. This film is an homage to names perhaps unknown outside of Italy, or even Palermo, and yet it feels almost universal in its message.

A surprisingly honest and sentimental directorial debut for a TV satirist, Diliberto tells a beautiful story. It is as touching as it is comedic, and the wonderful cast of characters knit together to make an incredibly moving and brutally real story. La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate educates a new generation about a group of people it might’ve forgotten, or perhaps never even heard of, and as Arturo takes his son around the city where he grew up, showing him plaques dedicated to the men who died in the struggle for peace, I dare you not to be moved by the pride in his voice.

Dir: Pierfrancesco Diliberto

Scr: Michele Astori, Pierfrancesco Diliberto, Marco Martani

Cast: Pierfrancesco Diliberto, Cristiana Capotondi, Ginevra Antona, Alex Bisconti, Claudio Gioe, Ninni Bruschetta

Prd: Mario Gianani, Lorenzo Mieli

Music: Santi Pulvirenti

Country: Italy

Year: 2013

Run Time: 85 minutes

The Mafia Kills Only in Summer on Vimeo on Demand