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Dublin: 22°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

A new Irish film tells the story of a female photographer who covered the violence of the Mafia

The Irish documentary Shooting the Mafia tells the story of photojournalist Letizia Battaglia.

A small child with a gun in Palermo in 1982.
A small child with a gun in Palermo in 1982.
Image: Letizia Battaglia

AN IRISH DOCUMENTARY telling the story of the Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, who spent her career capturing and chronicling the violence of the Mafia, will open in cinemas tomorrow. 

The film, made by the Mayo-based Lunar Pictures and titled Shooting the Mafia, has picked up plenty of acclaim. 

Battaglia, who is now 84, became the first female photographer in Italy’s daily press after picking up a camera at the age of 40. 

Throughout the 1970s, she covered one of the bloodiest periods of Italy’s modern history as mafia violence escalated. 

Producer Niamh Fagan discovered Battaglia’s photos in the Anti-Mafia Museum in Corleone, which inspired her to make a film of her life.

“The building was bedecked with large, stunning photographs depicting the horror, depravity and squalor caused by the Mafia’s reign in Sicily. The photographs captured the quiet pain of ordinary Sicilian people but they also captured their dignity. I couldn’t get those images out of my mind,” says Fagan.

“Eventually I got in touch with Letizia, only to discover that she was a remarkable and inspiring woman.  I wanted to tell her story and I felt a documentary was the best way,” she adds.

Source: Modern Films/YouTube

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“I began taking photos when I was 40. It was the start of a love story,” Battaglia says in the film. 

The film makers, led by Fagan, want to counter the image of the Mafia played out in films. 

unnamed Source: Letizia Battaglia

The film puts Battaglia’s black-and-white photographs alongside rare archive footage and classic Italian films to tell the story of her life. 

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unnamed (1) The wife of one of Falcone's killed bodyguards. Source: Letizia Battaglia

The film will open in Dublin at the Irish Film Institute and in Cork in the Triskel Arts Centre. 

There will also be screenings in select cinemas across the country. 

Young men in Palermo in 1977. Source: Letizia Battaglia

A photo taken in Palermo in 1986. Source: Letizia Battaglia


1976.Ucciso mentre andava in garage.3 A crime scene in 1976. Source: Letizia Battaglia

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