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Sicilian Ghost Story 2017

Sicilian Ghost Story

Sicilian Ghost Story

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About the Sicilian Ghost Story 💬

Giuseppe Di Matteo (1981-1996)

Set in a little Sicilian village at the edge of a forest, this is the story of adolescent innocence and painful reality. Giuseppe (Gaetano Fernandez) is the son of a man with Mafia connections who has turned informer. One day, this 13-year-old boy vanishes, kidnapped by those his father crossed. Luna (Julia Jedlikowska), his classmate who loves him, refuses to accept his mysterious disappearance. She and her friend Loredana (Corinne Musallari) petition the townsfolk to find him but to no avail. Rebelling against the code of silence and collusion that surrounds her, Luna refuses to give up her search, desperate to find the boy she so bashfully loves.


''Sicily is all a realm of fantasy: and what can anyone do there without imagination?''

Leonardo Sciascia

''SICILIAN GHOST STORY' was inspired by the true story of Giuseppe Di Matteo, whose father Santino Di Matteo was a Mafia supergrass.

Giuseppe was kidnapped on November 23rd, 1993 by men wearing police uniforms. They went to the riding stables where Giuseppe often spent time and told him they were taking him to his father, who was working with the police in a secret location. Giuseppe hadn't seen his father for months so he got into their car. This was the start of the kidnapping of the 12-year-old.

Mafia chief Giovanni Brusca ordered the kidnapping: he'd known Giuseppe since he was a baby. Brusca was Santino Di Matteo's friend and his boss. He was sure that Santino would stop talking to prosecutors to save his boy. Brusca expected Di Matteo to withdraw statements accusing him of countless murders and of being the mastermind behind the assassination of prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. But Santino went on talking.

The Mafia kept Giuseppe for 779 days. He was blindfolded and chained as they moved him from one hiding place to another, traveling all over Sicily. The desperate kidnapping was a hopeless plan and came to an inevitable end in a bunker out in the country, just two kilometers from where Brusca was born, and 20 from the boy's home. On the night of January 11th, 1996, Giuseppe was strangled and his body dissolved in acid. He was little more than a skeleton weighing 30 kilograms (66 pounds).

We are both directors from Palermo, and this story haunts us. Giuseppe is a ghost who never ceases to cause us pain for the abominable suffering he endured. He stirs our anger against the world in which such suffering could take place. A ghost imprisoned in a story without redemption.

A ghost trapped in the darkest depths of our consciences. A ghost that should be set free. We got the idea for this film while reading Marco Mancassola's ''Un Cavaliere Bianco'' (A White Knight). In this story, as he's dying, Giuseppe Di Matteo becomes an imaginary knight in the imagination of a classmate: a supernatural presence that protects her. The idea that reality could intersect with fantasy gave us the two elements to tell Giuseppe's story: the element of ghosts and the culpability of a world that murders children. The elements of a ghost story.

A SICILIAN GHOST STORY and, as such, a fable, in terms of reality.
A SICILIAN GHOST STORY and, as such, a love story, in terms of fantasy.
A SICILIAN GHOST STORY that came from a real horror story.
A SICILIAN GHOST STORY that became a fictional love story.

Our narrative switches from one story to the other. One is factual, made up of human and historical truths; the other is fictional, describing the strong bond between the two lead characters. Perhaps love can work miracles, overcome death and save humanity.

Luna is our central character; our imaginary Giuseppe was inspired by Giuseppe Di Matteo. Luna and Giuseppe are classmates. She's been secretly in love with him for a while. The story begins on the day Luna decides to tell Giuseppe she loves him. A few hours later, Giuseppe vanishes. Giuseppe's family says nothing. Nobody seems to care. Luna just can't accept that he's vanished for no reason.

The story revolves around Luna's instinctive need to find and save Giuseppe. It's her ''dream,'' but as the story progresses, we realize it's more than that: Luna is also Giuseppe's ''dream.'' Luna's letter is the link that connects the two teenagers even though they aren't aware of it until later. When they do meet again, it's in another dimension where they are beyond dreams and nightmares, and the very real threat of death surrounds them. In this dimension, these two teenagers can save themselves and their souls, which are indestructible.

Luna's love for Giuseppe saves her as a person. Giuseppe's love for Luna saves his inner self and her life. In our film, the boy ghost trapped in the darkness of our consciences finally spreads his wings and soars into the brightness of life itself.


Before we started working on the script, we read court transcripts of various trials for Giuseppe Di Matteo's kidnapping and murder. We read books offering a historical reconstruction of the crime, some written by his murderers. We went to the places where the boy was held captive on his slow road to death.

Our research made it possible to reconstruct many actual moments of his captivity, crucial for us to be able to develop our Giuseppe character precisely from these episodes. We wanted his secret bond with Luna to give him the strength to transform events, allowing his spirit to resist.

We also concluded from our research that his captors were irrational and stupid. As a result, we didn't give the kidnapper's character status in our screenplay: They were merely brutal, ridiculous dummies. Hollow puppets, nothing more.

The first stage of work, drafting and assembling the storyline, was lonely and disturbing. After finishing, we contacted producer Nicola Giuliano to tell him what we had in mind to see if he was interested in developing it with us. Although our oral narrative was still hazy, Nicola trusted us immediately. He gave us suggestions and hints that were crucial to completing the script. His attention and his ideas were always with us, for all the script drafts and during film editing.

We also thank Nicola for introducing us to Director of Photography Luca Bigazzi. The quality and speed that hallmark the work of Luca and his team are impressive.

The third crucial meeting engineered by Nicola Giuliano and Indigo Film was with Cristiano Travaglioli, who became film editor for ''Sicilian Ghost Story.'' Like Nicola, Cristiano read the screenplay attentively, so his work didn't start with the cutting room Moviola at the end of shooting, as it usually would, but well before filming began. When we went on set, we kept in mind what he thought of the overall structure of the story and aspects of the characters. And we wanted him close during shooting.

Sicilian Ghost Story Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Antonio Piazza

Fabio Grassadonia

Writing Credits

Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia (Written by)

Marco Mancassola (Story ''Un cavaliere bianco'' from the Book ''Non saremo confusi per sempre'')


Julia Jedlikowska

Gaetano Fernandez

Corinne Musallari

Federico Finocchiaro

Andrea Falzone

Vincenzo Amato

Sabine Timoteo

Lorenzo Curcio

Filippo Luna

Baldassare Tre Re

Rosario Terranova

Gabriele Falsetta

Vincenzo Crivello

Dino Santoro

Antonio Prester

Music by

Anton Spielmann

Cinematography by

Luca Bigazzi

Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Countries: Italy, France, Switzerland

Sicilian Ghost Story Official Trailer

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