The stories of the collaborators of justice Lea Garofalo, Maria Concetta Cacciola and Giuseppina Pesce at the center of the series The Good Mothers, from April 5 on Disney+, the cast and directors recounted their experience on the set in Calabria.
After having triumphed at the first edition of the Berlinale Series Awards, from today 5 April it lands on Disney+ The Good Mothersthe serie inspired by the true story of Lea Garofalo and the women who rebelled against the ‘Ndrangheta. Shot for six weeks in Calabria, between Reggio Calabria, Palmi and Fiumara, with the support of the Calabria Film Commission, the 6-episode series will be entirely available on the streaming platform.
With a rich and close-knit cast, The Good Mothers is interpreted by Gaia Girace in the role of Denise Cosco, Valentina Bellè in the role of Giuseppina Pesce, Barbara Chichiarelli in those of Anna Colace, Francesco Colella in those of Carlo Cosco, Simona Distefano in the role of Concetta Cacciola, Andrea Dodero in that of Carmine and with Micaela Ramazzotti in the role of Lea Garofalo. The cast, together with directors Julian Jarrold and Elisa Amoruso, spoke yesterday at The Space cinema Moderno in Rome for the launch of the series which adopts an unprecedented point of view on a theme explored far and wide by cinema and television, that of organized crime.
Telling the ‘Ndrangheta without glorifying violence
And it is precisely the choice to tell the story of The Good Motherswhich focuses on the ‘Ndrangheta and on the collaborators of justice Lea Garofalo, Maria Concetta Cacciola and Giuseppina Pesce, who dared to oppose the organization, to have attracted the director of The Crown e Becoming Jane Julian Jarroldsas he himself admits: “The choice to tell the story from the female perspective makes it unique and that’s the reason that prompted me to direct it. There are many products about the mafia, all told from the male point of view with sometimes too exaggerated violence. We were able to tell the story with a new perspective by approaching female figures who experience a constant sense of danger due to the choices they have made, hence the tension that runs throughout the series. These women must always watch their backs. We wanted to deal with a theme like this powerful in a realistic way, in as simple a language as possible to be direct”.
Eliza Amoruso has landed the director of The Good Mothers after reading the reportage book of the same name by Alex Perry. “The world it tells seemed centuries away to me due to the condition of women” he confesses. “Giuseppina Pesce, Maria Concetta Cacciola and the others, married women with husbands who had not chosen them, almost all alone in raising their children around the age of 16, since their husbands were in prison. After reading the script, I understood that it was necessary to tell these stories. Without glorifying violence, we wanted to shed light on these invisible protagonists who needed to be given a voice”.
The voices of actresses, the voices of women fighting the ‘Ndrangheta
The actresses who gave birth to the women of the ‘Ndrangheta are speaking. Women who have chosen to fight the organization to protect their children, to free themselves from the yoke or for a simple coincidence, such as Giuseppina Pesce, who collaborated for the first time after being arrested for controlling drug trafficking in the port of Gioia Taurus. As his interpreter explains Valentina Belle, “Giuseppina’s realization is very painful, but for her prison is the only way out of death. Women caught in the act with a lover must die. This rule does not apply to men. So she finds herself forced to collaborate, she does not become aware of herself. And then she discovers that her children have been turned against her by family members”. He intervenes Michelle Ramazzottiwho plays the tragic character of Lea Garofalo: “Lea did her best to escape from the mafia. She didn’t make it, but she gave her daughter the strength to testify against her father. This is a very powerful series, for me it’s like a film in six episodes. The cinema gives us many emotions and I hope it gives courage to many men and women to rebel”.
To interpret the daughter of Lea Garofalo, Denise Cosco, is the actress de The brilliant friend Gaia Girace: “When I read her story, I understood that playing the character of Denise was quite a challenge with such an important experience. She suffered a lot and found herself alone to give justice to her mother. She fought against her family and against ‘Ndrangheta for maternal love. I tried to give my version because I was unable to meet Denise, who lives under protection, but I documented myself as much as possible”. Simona Distefano is Concetta Cacciola, protagonist of a tragic ending: Concetta can’t make it, she suffers from the system and her love for her children leads her to a tragic end. She experiences loneliness and abandonment by those who should have supported her. Often it is women themselves who contribute to the maintenance of the patriarchy”.
In the wake of Francesco Rosi and Elio Petri
Speaking of the reception of The Good Mothers by international audiences, Elisa Amoruso recalls the experience at the Berlinale: “During the screening of the first two episodes there was a great silence in the theater which made me think back to all the moments on the set with our actors. Even there, a beautiful silence was created from time to time. It gave me back the beauty of a sincere emotion”. The same emotion experienced on the set of Barbara Chichiarelliwho in the series plays a key character, the Public Prosecutor Anna Colace, who has the intuition of using women as a Trojan horse to break through a closed society like the ‘Ndrangheta: “There had already been the first ruptures within this society. When she was arrested, for the first time Giuseppina Pesce found herself without being able to see her children for six months. The fear is not so much what these women can reveal, the PMs already know. What’s scary is that they become an example because an example is something that can be replicated”.
One of the few male voices in the meeting on The Good Mothers is that of Francis Colella who plays Carlo Cosco, husband and killer of Lea Garofalo. “An actor should never confess his fatigue, but here I do it openly” he begins. “I don’t agree that characters cannot be judged, I felt repulsion for my character, I needed to reject him. He belongs to a group of homunculi who live in hiding, they don’t know who they are except when they order death, they confuse love and possession. Their relationships have utilitarian ends. I had to play a man of this kind to the best of my ability. I didn’t want to trigger a process of identification with the public: The series does not indulge in spectacularisation, but follows in the wake of Francesco’s model Rosi and Elio Petri, who assumed a moral point of view. It means deciding on an observation point from which to look at reality, knowing where to stand”.
Shooting in Calabria, the experience on the set
Julian Jarrold defines the experience of filming The Good Mothers on location in Calabria, in the places to which the characters at the center of the series belong, “The most important decision we made was because we were looking for authenticity. We shot in very poor areas. People were very loving, they helped us, they brought us tea, but when I was driving to find the right areas to shoot in certain moments told me that I had to stay on board because some areas were too dangerous. I tried to grasp the reality of this context, the pressure that the characters are forced to face, surrounded by an invisible violence that is always lurking there. to have the camera close to the characters to capture every little nuance and understand their feelings in this reality”.