PIETRO GERMI (1961)
Bondanella Chapter 4
Suggested Reading: 103-141
Bondanella Chapter 5
Mandatory Reading: 142 – 160
In the imaginary Sicilian town of Agramonte lives the baron Ferdinando Cefalù, called Fefè.In the Sicilian town of Agramonte lives the baron Ferdinando Cefalù, called Fefè. Married to Rosalia, he is in love with his young cousin, Angela. The Italian law does not allow divorce, but the crime of honor is still foreseen, namely the murder of the partner for treason and punished with a relatively mild sentence.
Fefè then desperately tries to find a lover to his wife, to be able to surprise them together, kill them, take advantage of the motive of honor and – served the punishment – marry Angela …
Following the classic scheme of Italian comedy, where irony serves to highlight public and privates aspects of everyday life and so push the public to reflect on the paradoxes, backwardness, and injustices present in Italian society of that period, Germi adapts and transforms the dramatic novel by Giovanni Arpino “A crime of honor” in an ironic portrait of the mentality and impulses of a certain province of Sicily, targeting with sarcasm two situations of legislative backwardness of Italy at the time: the lack of a law on divorce (which will come only in 1970), and above all the anachronistic article 587 of the penal code that regulated the crime of honor, law which will be abolished only in 1981.