The most American of directors according to celebrated critic Paolo Mereghetti, Damiano Damiani (A Bullet for the General) nevertheless surveyed his own country’s mafia history, unlike anyone before him, to critical and box office success. Three such classic films are collected in The Cosa Nostra Collection, presented from new restorations.
The Day of the Owl stars Franco Nero as a police chief who, while investigating the death of a construction worker, goes up against corrupt officials and a ruthless mafia boss (Lee J. Cobb). Adapted from the celebrated novel by Leonardo Sciascia (Illustrious Corpses, Todo Modo), The Day of the Owl was the first book to openly deal with organised crime in Sicily. A prestigious production, it was in the running for best film at the Berlin Film Festival and found wins at home in the David di Donatello Awards for Claudia Cardinale, Nero, Damiani, and Best Production.
Nero portrays a simple man thrown in jail for a misdemeanour in The Case Is Closed: Forget It. Inside, he sees the grim reality of life behind bars, where the mafia controls everything. A powerful production with Nero on top form and supported by a strong cast including Riccardo Cucciolla (Rabid Dogs) and John Steiner (Tenebrae), the intensity of Damiani’s film places it among the finest prison dramas. Presented in Italian and for the first time with the original English dub.
In How to Kill a Judge, Nero plays filmmaker Giacomo Solaris, whose latest film features a judge corrupted by the mafia and who is later found murdered. The real judge the character is based on seizes the footage but is later killed in the same way. Feeling a degree of responsibility, Solaris investigates, but as the assassinations increase around him, will he reach the source of the conspiracy? Full of twists and a fascinating meta-commentary on cinema, Damiani points the camera at himself and the genre as he investigates the social impact of mafia violence, a fitting end to this survey of Damiani’s Cosa Nostra.