Directed by Daniela Zanzotto • Documentary • 2002 • 58 minutes
At almost 40 years old, Sicilian photographer Letizia Battaglia decided that being a mother and wife, the thing that she was meant to do according to the society she lived in, just wasn’t enough anymore. With great inner strength, she changed her life and became a photojournalist, through which she discovered she had a burning passion for photography and justice. During the height of the Mafia killings in Sicily, in the 70’s and 80’s, Letizia Battaglia photographed and documented Sicilian society, and became a leading member of the campaign against the Mafia. Letizia has helped to change a way of life that has destroyed so much.
A warrior of a woman, who is as kind as she is brusque in her manner, she speaks her mind at all times and defies all stereotypes of an older Sicilian woman. The contrasts of the city of Palermo provides the background, Letizia the foreground. The style of the film matches her inexhaustible energy, and will create a story made of a collage of memory, thoughts and her award-winning black & white photographs. The film reflects and underscores elements of Letizia’s persona as well as Palermo’s decayed beauty and vivacity. Letizia’s resistance to being pinned down is reflected in the framing where she is often on the edges and spilling out of frame. As a counterpoise to the dynamic camera movement is the stillness of the black and white photographs. The viewer is given the time to immerse themselves in their beauty and power. They are not used in an illustrative way (i.e. Letizia describing the contents), but rather as a parallel to the words we hear and images we see.
Ultimately, the film is about being confronted with yourself, asking yourself, did you make the right choices in life, are you content with where you are?