Excellent Cadavers is a documentary about the real Mafia: not the comical hoods of The Sopranos or the tragic warriors of The Godfather, but the historic, violent Sicilian gang that has flourished in Italy and the U.S. for more than a century, leaving bloody havoc in its wake.
The focus is not on individual Mafiosi but on the Cosa Nostra as a powerful amoral corporate entity, intimately enmeshed with Italian business and politics, and on two brave, unshakably honest prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who battled them in the courts for years, winning hundreds of convictions, before both were assassinated.
If Francis Ford Coppola, in The Godfather trilogy, established the modern myth of the American Mafia as a murderous business tied to parts of the Establishment, director Marco Turco shows the reality of similar relationships in Italy, and indicts the conservative Italian establishment for its tolerance of criminals who trample on laws and lives.
Sicily is one of the most picturesque of movie locations, and Turco takes full advantage of that here. One of his main interviewees is the gifted photojournalist Letizia Battaglia, who has recorded the Mafia’s violent legacy in Palermo for decades, and he uses her searing black-and-white shots evocatively and well. Cadavers is a rich mine of information on a subject about which it is sometimes too easy to be superficial. - Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
Based on the book by Alexander Stille.
BEST DOCUMENTARY! Festival Dei Popoli, Florence, 2005