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Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone and Burt Lancaster as Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina
Art, Cinema, History & Politics, Italian American Issues, Literature, Music, Photography, Theater & Dance

Autumn of Patriarchs

Antonio Monda and Stefano Albertini on "The Godfather" and "The Leopard"

February 5, 2024
6:30 pm

This event is part of Le Conversazioni
Autumn of Patriarchs
The Godfather and The Leopard

Antonio Monda, NYU
in conversation with
Stefano Albertini, NYU


From a moral standing, a violent and feared mafia boss like Don Vito Corleone couldn’t be more different than an aristocrat like Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, a man so beloved for his integrity. Yet, many analogies exist between these two characters, mostly stemming for their common Sicilian origins and their cult of family and tradition.
The Godfather tells of the attempt by Don Vito – and later by his son Michael – to acquire respectability through the criminal use of power; in The Leopard, Don Fabrizio – and his nephew Tancredi – have the choice of changing everything in order to keep things exactly as they are.
These two extraordinary films, both drawn from works of literature, made history for their dialogues and unforgettable sequences featuring dance scenes, betrayals, seductions, threats, love scenes, murders, and a relationship to politics distinguished by fraud, corruption, and disillusionment.
But above all else, The Godfather and The Leopard consecrate two patriarchs during the autumn of their lives, while the world around them is changing quickly.