Country: Italy / France
Movie Review: Winner of the critic’s week grand prize at Cannes, “Salvo”, the debut feature from Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, tells us a standard story of crime and romance set in the torrid Palermo, presenting it in a non-standard way. Salvo (Saleh Bakri) is a quiet, determined and unmerciful hitman who works for the Sicilian mafia. When trying to ambush a traitor inside his house, he bumps into Rita (Sara Serraiocco), the blind sister of his target. Salvo, accomplishes his task, killing the man, but in a mix of pity and admiration spares Rita, keeping her hostage inside the house. An act of compassion that, going against the mafia rules, consequently puts both their lives at stake. It was interesting to notice that Salvo, visibly tired of living in the shadows, was starting to humanize himself – his love for Rita made him a better man and he seemed enjoying that beneficial effect. This notion was observable when he returns the kindness of his landlords for the first time. The film plays with a variety of atmospheres, in which the use of light, sound, and silence, have preponderant roles, at times causing claustrophobic sensations. Its minimal dialogues and decelerated pace can be an obstacle for some viewers, and the love story never transcends itself into something memorable, but in the other hand, the sensorial experience provided and the changeable moods through a different way of filmmaking, worth the ride.