Italian Film Festival

The Traitor / Il traditore

Info: Italy, 2019, 145 mins, DCP

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Director: Marco Bellocchio

Cast: Pierfrancesco Favino, Maria Fernanda Candido, Fabrizio Ferracane, Luigi Lo Cascio, Fausto Russo Alesi, Nicola Calì


  • Saturday January 4, 2020 - 6:10 pm

"Stories based on actual history don’t get much bigger or wilder… Bellocchio has chosen to eschew the dull methods of period drama to shape The Traitor as a big, brash operatic extravaganza. There are eerie macabre dream sequences, flashbacks, and memories, and an ironic use of soundtrack music as outsized punctuation." Barbara Scharres,

Sicilian mob boss turned informant Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino) gets the GoodFellas treatment here courtesy of veteran filmmaker Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket), though in truth, Bellocchio is by no means as intoxicated by the mafia life as Scorsese sometimes seemed to be.

“Much of the success of The Traitor relies on the central performance of Favino, who pivots from a cliched, narcissistic “soldier” to a fount of grizzled mirthfulness in his castigation of his previous employers.

Where Bellocchio reaches elements of the sublime is during the courtroom reenactments, with a gaggle of fingered mobsters locked in cages behind the court, howling like animals, spitting expletives (“cuckold” and “ball-less” seem to be favored, along with the devil’s horns and plenty of dick grabbing) as Buscetta wryly addresses their counter accusations.

Periodically, a filmmaker manages to breathe new life into the staple of Italian mafioso cinema, forever shrouded by imprints of Coppola, Scorsese and more contemporary auteurs like Garrone. Bellocchio, as with his 2009 portrait of Mussolini in Vincere, creates another late period masterstroke with The Traitor.” Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema

Intro and Q&A by Fabio Messineo, Consul General of Italy