“I wasn’t a real person,” Letizia Battaglia
says of the days before she took to photography. As an unhappily married housewife stifled and abused by Italy’s dominant patriarchy, picking up a camera opened up her life to realms she’d never otherwise have accessed; as a photojournalist specializing in the crimes and rituals of the Cosa Nostra
in her hometown of Palermo, she turned her personal vocation into boundary-breaking activism. It’s easy to see why Kim Longinotto
, herself one of Britain’s trailblazing female documentarians, would warm to Battaglia’s story. Palpable affection for her subject permeates the otherwise plain, brisk framework of “Shooting the Mafia
,” a potted chronicle of Battaglia’s life and career.
Oddly, that apparent artistic empathy hasn’t made for one of Longinotto’s more essential works. Hampered by an interviewee who seems genial but unwilling to give much of herself away, it