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Rai: “Educate While Entertaining—Entertain While Educating” in L’ultimo dei Corleonesi, “Niente di personale,” and Il segreto dell’acqua

  • Dana RengaEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter acquaints the reader with the history of the television network Rai, Italy’s public service broadcasting company, discussing Rai’s pedagogical and homogenizing entertainment mission. Of all of the Italian networks, Rai is considered the most traditional in its production of mainstream, identifiable fiction. Rai series and miniseries that focus on the mafia also focus on the hero who combats the mafia, and tend to depict criminals as lacking in positive qualities. It also looks at three programs: 1) Alberto Negrin’s made-for-television movie L’ultimo dei Corleonesi (2007) that focuses on the two recent “boss of bosses” of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra: Salvatore “Totò” Riina and Bernardo Provenzano. In analyzing casting, acting, and performance, this chapter demonstrates how the program’s apparently uncomplicated message regarding mafia/antimafia is troubled, and allows for a much more comprehensive consideration of viewer allegiance and sympathy in Rai programs; 2) the episode “Niente di personale” (“Nothing Personal,” Ivano De Matteo, 2010) from the noir crime series Crimini (Crimes, 2006–2010), the only program treated in this book that has a focus on a sympathetic perpetrator with ties to the ’ndrangheta, the mafia of Calabria. It explores the complicated relationship between victimizer and victim and points out that the antihero diverges from almost all of the serial perpetrators discussed in this book because he is not dashing, charismatic, and attractive. Instead, Angelo’s ordinariness is revealed as an intricate fabrication, even though he does receive sympathy from his victim; and 3) Il segreto dell’acqua (Palermo Connection, Renato de Maria, 2011), starring Italian heartthrob actor Riccardo Scamarcio in the role of angst-ridden antiheroic police investigator Angelo Caronia. Interestingly, Il segreto dell’acqua blatantly foregrounds Scamarcio’s earlier teen star roles through a persistent focus on his face—in particular his eyes—and his body. This chapter forwards that Angelo Caronia is a polyvalent and complex protagonist at odds with the more unidimensional hero who is traditionally the focus of Rai programming, and takes into account how acting, performance, stardom, and reception open up the series to interesting conversations regarding the unconventional representation of heroic antiheroes on Italy’s public broadcasting network.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of French and ItalianThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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