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Excellent Cadavers (Unrated)

Release Date: July 12th, 2006 (Film Forum) by First Run/Icurus Films.
Directed by Marco Turco.
In English and Italian with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the Sicilian Mafia’s terrorism in Italy while Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two lawyers, prosecuted many members of the mafia during the 1980’s until their murder in1992. Based on the book by Alexander Stille.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Excellent Cadavers could have been much more intriguing with better organized facts and more interesting interviews. The Sicilian Mafia clearly was a powerful force in Italy that killed many civilians including prosecutors and judges. Many of the violent images speak for themselves, but they would have been more effective with some background information about the Sicilian Mafia—what, if any, were been their motives? There’s an obvious link between the Mafia and the government which shows some corruption, but this doesn’t come up until later on the film and could have been interesting to bring that up more—not just in footage of after the Maxi-Trials. Prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino were, essentially, the “good guys” who tried to bring Mafia members to trial but soon became victims themselves. Director Marco Turco doesn’t include enough footage of Falcone and Borsellino which shows more background information about them and what makes them particularly so important other than their actions—what did they do in the long run? It’s somewhat haunting to see photos of the “excellent cadavers”. However, Turco includes unnecessary, distracting footage of Alexander Stille, author of Excellent Cadavers, as he just walks around observing places—or contemplating. In other cases, the narration doesn’t directly relate to the images. More interviews that answer the basic question “so what?” would have helped this a much more fascinating documentary.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Disorganized and not enough insight or background information.


IN A NUTSHELL: Haunting photographs, but mostly disorganized and lacking in insight.


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