Five Moons Square (Five Moons Plaza) (2003)



Director:     Renzo Martinelli.

Starring:     Donald Sutherland (Rosario Sarracino), Giancarlo Giannini (Branco), Stefania Rocca (Fernanda), Aisha Cerami (Ombretta), F. Murray Abraham (Entita'), Greg Wise (Francesco Doni), Nicola Di Pinto (Antiquario), Federica Martinelli (Tecnico informatico), Philippe Leroy (Barista).

judge gets an old 8mm film in the mail of the kidnapping of the President of the Italian Christian Democratic party, Aldo Moro, March 16, 1978



Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

"One must never regret telling the truth.  The truth is enlightening and helps us become courageous."  Aldo Morro

Judge Rosario Sarracino is at the races.  Two women tell him that two different horses are going to be the winner.  The race starts.  One of the women, his daughter, was right in her pick of the horses.  The other is a colleague of the judge, Fernanda. 

At night the judge says goodbye to his servant Branco who has worked for him for 12 years.  The judge enters his home and a man with a gun comes up behind him.  He says that this is not a robbery.  Rather he wants to give the judge a gift.  He then tells the judge to look at it carefully.  The man then drops something on the floor and runs away.  The judge picks up the small package and brings it with him.  He sits down and opens the package.  It is a film on a small reel.   He tries to see what it's about by looking at the narrow film strip itself.  He can't tell what the film is about.  So he puts it in his projector and starts it up. 

The subject is the assassination of Prime Minister Aldo Moro.  One car stops dead at an intersection, forcilng the car with Aldo Moro to stop.  The care with Moro's bodyguards then comes up behind Moro's car to seal the Moro car in.  A man standing by a parked car starts shooting at the men in the target car.  The driver of the first car gets out.  Four men dressed as commercial airline workers charge the target car.  A passenger from the third car, the car with the bodyguards, gets out and is shot down by the fake commercial airline workers.  A fake commercial airlines fellow fires shots into the target car's driver's seat.

A fourth car backs its way up against the target car.  The kidnappers pull Aldo Moro out from the back seat and place him in the fourth car.  There is also a fifth car in the area for the kidnappers.  Then two kidnappers on one motorcycle drive by.  The other kidnappers climb into various cars and the cars all leave the scene along with the motorcycle. 

The judge is shocked and stunned by what he just saw.  He sits for awhile taking it all in. 

The judge gives his farewell speech at a ceremony held in his honor.  During the ceremony, Fernanda gets a call on her cell phone to speak to the judge.  Fernanda tells the judge that there's a call for him from his doctor.  But the man on the phone is not his doctor.  The man asks the judge if he got a good look at the film?  The voice tells the judge to pay a visit to the Santa Maria della Scala tonight at 1 a.m. 

The judge goes to the place.  The voice of the kidnapper says that he was the man on the back of the Honda motorcycle with the machine gun.  The judge asks him:  "May I ask, why now, after 25 years?"  The guy says he's been watching the judge for years now.  In fact, the judge passes in front of his shop everyday.  The kidnapper says the doctors have given him only two months to live.  He says he knows where the original handwritten notebooks of Aldo Moro are.  The really sensitive parts of the notebooks were not published.  If he can trust the judge, he will give these notebooks to him.  The judge really wants to see those notebooks.  While he is promising the kidnapper that he will cooperate with him, the kidnapper slips out a back door. 

The judge comes out of the meeting place building. He looks around for any signs of the kidnapper. 

The judge comes to clean out his office.  Fernanda says she knew she would find him here.  On his desk there is a large envelope.  He opens the envelope and finds pictures of himself leaving the meeting place building.  This stuns him and he falls back into his chair.  Fernanda looks at the photos but can't see anything shocking about them.  She asks the judge to take a little walk with her.  She gets him to tell her that he received a film of the Via Fani massacre.  Fernanda immediately asks to see the film. 

They go to the judge's place and he shows her the film.  Her eyes are glued to the screen.  The whole thing frightens her, especially since she knows now that the Red Brigades have her telephone number.  She warns that if you get involved in the Moro case, they kill you.  She is a bit afraid of what might happen to the judge.  Fernanda says she is going to check out some things for him and then she and his former bodyguard Branco will get together and tell the judge what are the dangers that await him. 

Now the judge, Fernanda and Branco all meet together to go over the footage very carefully.  They discover that the driver of the bodyguard car was killed early and that's why his car hit into the back of Moro's car, the target car.  The four men are dressed in the uniforms of commercial airline workers because not everyone knew everyone else in the Red Brigades.  The Red Brigades hired a professional gunman who would remain calm under fire.  It was this man who fired 49 shots.  He came with Moretti.  The professional hit man did not know the others in his group so everyone in the group wore the uniforms.  Branco says there's something else the judge missed.  There is a man in a trench coat who just stands there on the sidewalk while all hell was breaking loose around him. 

Milan.  To be cautious, the judge and his two companions take the subway.  A technician has the film and uses modern machinery to scan the material.  They now get a close-up of the man on the sidewalk.  The man in the trench coat is Camillo Guglielmi, Ministry of the Interior and a colonel in the secret services, who was working undercover for the Gladio group. Camillo worked with the right-wing politicians that ran the military camps, which were only to be used in case a Communist Party take over of the Italian government. 

This conversation stops when Branco says that someone opened and closed the driver's side door of his car.  He put a match in the crack of the door before they left and now he found it on the ground. 

The judge watches a children's school play, in which Fernanda's children are acting.  A nun delivers a message to the judge from an unknown man.  The note says:  "Check the property deeds at 96 Via Gradoli."  When Fernanda sees the note she is even more concerned.  The guy called her on her cell phone and now he show up at her children's school play?  And it's Fernanda that has to check the property deeds at 96 Via Gradoli. 

Fernanda presents her findings to the judge and Branco.  During the 55 days of the Aldo Moro kidnapping there was a safe house at 96 Via Gradoli.  24 of the rooms in the building were owned by the secret services.  Moretti set up his headquarters in an apartment surrounded by agents of the Interior Ministry's secret service.  Right in front of the safe house, at 89 Via Gradoli, there lives Arcangelo Montani, a non-commissioned officer of the Carabinieri (police), an agent of the secret police and a former schoolmate of Moretti. 

Almost all of the members appointed to the committees investigating the kidnapping of Aldo Moro were members of the Masonic Lodge, an ultra-secret organization, set up to keep an eye on Moro and the communists and provide information to NATO.  Steven Picenic was the overall chairman of those three committees and he was an American who not even the American Embassy personnel were aware that he was even in Italy.  Picenic was head of the US State Department's anti-terrorist unit. 

Lake "Della Duchessa", 18 March 1978.  A helicopter goes over the lake.  What seems to be two explosions that take place at the lake.  On this day Aldo Moro had been a prisoner for 33 days.  It was said that Moro had taken his own life and his body could be found at the bottom of Lake Duchessa. 

The judge goes on to say that a certain Tony Ciccarelli, famous art forger, set up a fake safe house.  On April 18, 1978 a hose is turned on and left running so that the woman in the apartment below the fake safe house has water running into her apartment.  She calls the building manager, who calls the fire department, who finds the fake safe house. 

Then on April 14, 1979, three American tourists find a bag in their taxi.  The give the bag to a colonel in the police who is also a member of the Masonic Lodge.  In the bag was a note dealing with the planned killing of journalist Mino Pecorelli.  Pecorelli was assassinated March 20, 1979.  On September 28, Tony Ciccarelli was assassinated. 

The judge gets a note from his mysterious contact man.  It says:  "Come to the Duomo tomorrow 6 pm, the third confessional, left nave.  Do not say anything to Doni or Branco."

The judge goes to the Duomo, third confessional, left nave.  The contact man tells him he has to hurry up and get this project done.  His tumor is progressing a lot faster than is the judge's work.  He then tells the judge to go to the choir stall, number 16.  There the judge finds another note. 

Back at home, the judge tries to get onto the website of Hyperion dealing with the Moro letters from his captivity.  He quits after a short while. 

Branco tells Fernanda that he can't find the judge.  He can't find the judge because he is currently in Paris, France.  He goes to a place where a man comes down to talk to him.  They take a walk in a park.   He tells the judge that what is known as the Company was the CIA's most important branch in Europe.  So the judge asks if the CIA was behind the Moro kidnapping?  No, Yalta meeting of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin was behind that.  Moro had a plan to govern in concert with the Communist party of Italy.  This was a threat to the very foundation of Yalta.  Hyperion helped to cancel that threat.  The judge asks if the Second Red Brigade leader Mario Moretti ever knew that the CIA had infiltrated the Red Brigades?  The gentleman says wherever there is Moretti, the secret service is right there behind him.  Just before the fellow leaves, he gives the judge some papers. 

The judge returns to Rome.  He goes into his house.  His daughter is there and almost scares her father to death.  A dead man has been dropped off in the street below the judge's place.  His daughter says it's the antique dealer.  (She had just purchased an expensive painting from him.)  The judge quickly gets in contact with Branco and Fernanda.  He says that his contact man, the antique dealer across from him, was just killed in a hit-and-run incident.  Branco says it wasn't an accident.  Fernanda says this is a warning. She also acknowledges that now they have lost the chance to get their hands on the memoriale (i.e, Moro's letters).   Branco asks the judge did the contact give him any leads the last time they saw each other?  The judge lies when he says no, nothing at all. 

When Fernanda gets home, her husband demands to know what's going on.  She just says she is working on a case with the judge.  Her husband asks her if it's dangerous and she says "possibly".  She finally tells him the case involves the Aldo Moro kidnapping and death.  This scares the husband who reminds her that everyone who has ever been involved with the Moro papers has been killed. 

There is a long quote from one of Moro's letters to his wife thanking her for all the love she gave him and saying that he is giving up and leaving everything in God's hands now. 

The team of 3 listen to one of the Red Brigades people telling a professor where the body of Aldo Moro can be found  -- in the trunk of a red Renault 4 on Via Caetani.  The body is found May 9, 1978.  But the judge is not buying the Red Brigade version of what happened.  The Red Brigade say he was killed 12 km away from the Via Caetani.  The autopsy reported that the body did not move after the last two shots proved fatal.  But if the body was driven 12 km through city traffic, the body would have moved.  So they figure the shooting was done somewhere near Via Caetani. 

The judge travels by train headed for Florence.  He is there to find out a way to get into the Hyperion website.  He gives the diskette to the female computer wizardr and she cracks the diskette for him to get into the Hyperion system. 

The team of 3 are back together.  The judge takes them up a tower to a view over the Piazza del Campo.  He makes other stops along the way up to the top.   At the top he explains to his two partners that he went to Paris to meet a man known as Entity.  He does not know his real name.  Entity explained to him that Hyperion was a cover for the CIA.  He also told the judge that the agents applied the logic of Yalta. Moro's historic compromise with the communists was unthinkable.   Entity gave him a gift of a field manual prepared by an intelligence branch of the US Army in 1970.  The judge says:  "It lays out all the contingency measures to be taken in Allied countries if the communists look like they might get elected or if a communist military threat seems to be imminent."   The methods included in the manual include "the abduction and assassination of political leaders". 

Now the judge tells them that he knows where the memoriale is. 

On their way home, Fernanda's family is in a terrible collision with an oncoming truck.  The film suggests that the father was deliberately mislead by a man driving the truck in front of him, who gave him the all clear sign to pass him.  Dad didn't make it.  Both trucks just kept on going. 

Fernanda is at the hospital when they bring members of her family into the emergency room.  She is kept out of the emergency room operation area.  Later she gets to see her two children laying on their hospital beds.  They are certainly all bashed up. 

The funeral is held for Fernanda's husband.  The judge, his daughter and Branco are at the funeral.  The judge says now is the time to turn over the case to the prosecutor in Rome. 

The judge returns home to broken glass on the floor.  He gets a call from the female computer whiz and she tells him that she has found the file he wants.  She hangs up.  The judge finds his ships in a bottle all broken.    He finds other parts of his house trashed.  Somebody who the judge refers to as your Majesty calls the judge and asks if he is conducting an official inquiry?  He says no.  He's retired.  The judge then says he will come through to visit him tomorrow.

The judge goes to see Branco.  He tells him:  "Well, it seems my journey is over."  The judge has been summoned and he's going.  While they talk, a small airplane comes buzzing over them.  Branco pushes the judge into his car and then gets into the driver's seat.  He starts driving fast.  The airplane chases after them.  The pilot hits the roof of the car with one of the wheels of the plane.  He buzzes them again and releases a gas that descends over the car.  The judge has a handkerchief over his nose and mouth.  Branco stops the car and they both get out. 

The judge now tells Branco that he doesn't think he will be able to get to the memoriale after all.   So he has Branco agree to a request.  He has an old, loyal friend who he wants Branco to call.  The judge gives Branco a computer disc and tells him to give it to the judge's friend.  He then asks another favor:  take care of Ombretta, his daughter.  The judge starts to walk back to the car, when Branco tells him that he forgot to give him the password.  The password is "Five Moons Square".

The judge goes to the meeting room and there with a lot of other men is none other than Branco, who says:  "Well, your honor, sometimes we're swept up by events bigger than we are.  . . . I'm sorry."  The judge is at a loss for words. 


The film is a good one and holds one's attention.  A retiring judge is singled out by one of the kidnappers of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.  The judge receives a home movie filmed by the kidnappers of the Aldo Moro kidnapping.  Later the mystery man sets up several secret meetings with the judge.  If he can trust the judge, he will give him the parts of the Moro letters not published by the press.  So the mystery man keeps an eye on the judge.  The judge and his two closes aides start following up on the hints given to them by the kidnapper.  It's all very mysterious and a bit foreboding.  They are worried about being killed by the other people involved in the Moro kidnapping. 

The film follows the facts of the case.  The film makers present a hodge-podge of the other "alternative theories" thought up by others thinking about a possible conspiracy at the very top of the political organizations of Italy. 

Remember how many conspiracy theories arose after the assassination of US. President John Kennedy?  The truth of the original Warren Report on the assassination had to be proved true time after time to debunk the conspiracy theories.  I, at least, believe in the straightforward version of events given in the Warren Report.  But Oliver Stone makes a movie base on "alternative theories" of the assassination.  This film is very similar to the Stone film.  They go with the conspiracy versions of the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro.  

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 




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