The Mattei Affair

Intriguing and mysterious, fascinating and suspicious: THE MATTEI AFFAIR is a case reconstruction which investigates Italian businessman Enrico Mattei’s death. It also invites you to enjoy the pleasure of being a temporary detective and to be involved in a case investigation.

Famous public figures often become a topic in filmmaking. Some of them are more popular than others, for example, the Royal Family, the writer Capote, and perhaps more.  If you have never come across the name Enrico Mattei, you will certainly not forget this character for a while after watching the film.  If Hollywood somehow decides to remake THE MATTEI AFFAIR, they will not regret their investment, as Mattei will certainly make a significant central and heroic character.  The only concern might be his left wing political background.

While his popularity increases in the country, Mattei begins to receive threats through phone calls…

Enrico Mattei is a businessman, active in supporting Italy to recover from WII.  He develops methane gas in Italian villages, in order to free the country from the multinational energy companies’ control.  His actions soon receive support from the local inhabitants, but are annoyed by those who make profits from oil trading.  While his popularity increases in the country, Mattei begins to receive threats through phone calls, and finally he dies on a plane crash on 27th October 1962.

Not too much a documentary, apart from some news footage that has been imported; director Francesco Rosi converts Mattei’s story into a non-linear fiction.  It is not only a reconstruction of the case for the director himself, who is so passionate to find out the truth that he even appears talking in the film several times; but it also intrigues the audience to put the puzzled information back to order, and to come up with their own conclusions.

Francesco Rosi is an extremely talented director that is also under exposed in Europe.  It is fascinating to discover a director who is keen on using cinema as the most collective investigative tool.  Unfortunately, the director’s films are not yet available for distribution in this country.  Hopefully this year’s festival has helped Rosi to gain some deserved recognition.