Italy, Sicily, small seaside town of Pietromare. For the past fifteen years, the city has been run by Mayor Gaetano Patane (Tony Sperandeo). He is a classic corrupt politician: he distributes government contracts to his friends, built a port that no one needs, stealing wild money on construction, an enterprise operates near the city without proper treatment facilities – they pay bribes to the mayor. The police, with the connivance of the mayor, do nothing and do not regulate traffic, so there are terrible traffic jams in the city and everyone parks as they want. Garbage is taken out very badly – in a contract for removal from a friend of the mayor and he also wants to earn money – no one cleans up after the dogs, in general, not a city, but some kind of sewer.
The next mayoral elections are coming up. Patane is confident that he will be re-elected, because he is a bulwark of stability. Under him, everything is consistently bad, but everyone knows what will happen. And if there is a new mayor, then he will not come up with much, right? Maybe he’ll steal everything, especially what Patane didn’t steal.
This time the mayor has a rival – local teacher Pierpaolo Natoli (Vincenzo Amato). Natoli, like the rest of the city’s residents, is tired of this lawlessness and put forward a program in which he promises: to clean the streets, establish normal traffic, make idlers work, and most importantly, he plans to defeat corruption.
Natoli’s son-in-law Valentino (Valentino Picone) works at Natoli’s election headquarters – he encourages citizens to vote for Natoli. Natoli’s other son-in-law and Valentino’s brother Salvo (Salvo Ficarra) works at Patane’s campaign headquarters – he hopes to get permission from Patane to build a covered veranda of a cafe, which the brothers own on shares.
Elections are held and Patane unexpectedly receives a crushing defeat and Natole becomes mayor.
Having become mayor, Pierpaolo began to fulfill all his promises: he cleared the streets, introduced separate garbage collection, forced the police to strictly monitor traffic, expelled all municipal employees who were used to sitting out their pants in cafes and restaurants.
And then the residents of the city found out with horror that an honest life and strict adherence to the letter of the law also has its extremely unpleasant sides.
I like to watch some new Italian or French comedy from time to time. The cinematographers of these countries retain their national identity and their films tend to be markedly different from the American ones, which makes for a pleasant variety.
Salvo Ficarra and Valentino Picone are a famous comedy duo in Italy. In this film, they acted in three roles at once: they wrote the script (along with three other screenwriters), were directors and played two main roles.
“The law has no place here” – in general, a pure comedy, but in fact the questions raised here are quite serious and more than relevant for today’s Sicily. There is really very serious corruption there (as in all of Italy, however), there are big problems with garbage disposal on the island – filthy roadsides make a very unpleasant impression. This is what I shot during a trip to Sicily.
And this is a typical picture for Palermo.
And there is a really complete nightmare with traffic. Some signs are standing somewhere, but no one pays any attention to them. At first, I could not understand why on country roads everywhere it’s not even “50 km / h”, and “30 km / h” or “40 km / h”. The roads are very so-so, gouged, but you can safely drive on them at 80 km / h. But the locals very quickly explained to me what was the price, and the mildest expression from the cars that were forced to trail behind me was “cretino infernale”.
And it came to me. The sign “30” means that you can go somewhere “90-120”. And the sign “40” – well, here before the first space one. And they all move around at the same speed. And the police do not fine anyone, there are no cameras or anything like that.
And in Palermo, the driving is such that it puzzled even me, and I drove a lot around Moscow in the nineties and drove a car in Paris, where even seasoned people go nuts. In Palermo, everything is quite simple: no one follows any rules and signs. And this is clearly explained in this film by the phrase “Do you know how many accidents happen when you are distracted by signs while driving”?
Face to face on a one-way street with a taxi driver who drove under a brick and still demands that you give way to him – do you think that this is such a joke in the film? No joke, this is strictly from life.
And the film very clearly shows an important point: if you want the mayor not to be corrupt, so that the streets are clean, so that traffic is safe and orderly, so that garbage is normally taken out, and all sorts of permits are obtained not for bribes, but in the usual normal way, then you yourself will inevitably be involved in this process. Parked the car in the second row – fine. Drove under a brick – a fine. I put it in such a way that it interferes with the movement – a fine. And you still have to pay taxes. For everything that counts. And if your second floor was built illegally, then you will pay both a fine and a tax on the expansion of the area.
The inhabitants of the city very soon realize that they have been driven into some completely new life, which they absolutely do not like. You can’t just take and start selling fruits on the main square of the city – you need to get permission and pay the rent. It is impossible for a bribe to get permission to build an extension that disfigures the look of the city.
There used to be stability. The old mayor stole from the city, but the inhabitants also stole from the city and mothered the mayor. And now – complete horror: the mayor himself does not steal and does not give to others. Nightmare!
It’s all shown to be quite hilarious. Colorful Sicilians with violent emotions. Cool two brothers who thought that they would now begin a new life, but it turned out that now, together with their father-in-law, the whole city hates them.
Salvo Ficarra in a couple of Ficarra-Picone – a kind of buffoonery Pinocchio. Comedy with might and main, noticeably replays, but it looks pretty funny. Valentino Picone is a kind of sad Pierrot that everyone mocks. And above all Pinocchio mocks him.
The inhabitants of the city are the most diverse characters who want only one thing: that they can break the law, but the mayor cannot. But life showed how wrong they were, so they began to want everything to be the same as before.
The honest mayor of Natoli was boring. But since “honest mayor” is itself an oxymoron, Vincenzo Amato was simply playing a spherical mayor in the vacuum of a Sicilian town. And we remember that this is pure comedy.
There were a lot of comedy moments, but at the same time, it’s not to say that the film is so funny that it will tear the tummies. Funny comical Ficarra, funny jokes about the mafia, a few good gags – I, in general, quite liked it. Something slightly reminded of the recent Italian comedy “To hell with the horns”, where the theme of idle state officials is played up.
It’s the Law / L’ora legale
Director: Salvo Ficarra, Valentino Picone Cast: Salvo Ficarra, Valentino Picone, Vincenzo Amato, Antonio Catania, Sergio Fricia, Eleonora De Luca, Leo Gugliotta, Alessandro Roya, Tony Sperandeo, Ersilla Lombardo
Satirical comedy, Italy, 2017, 95 min.