Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saw "Gomorra(h)" @ Landmark -- Wow


That's what hit me the most as I watched "Gomorra," the Italian movie based on Roberto Saviano's book on the Naples mafia. (It's playing at the Landmark Theater in Midtown here in Atlanta, as well as at other independent theaters across the U.S.)

The people in "Gomorra" live in utter squalor.

Saviano, the author, said in an interview that the film would probably be eye-opening for American movie-goers who are accustomed to seeing bell'Italia. He's right -- in so many ways.

Even the Italians in the film are squalid. In real life and in the movies, Italians are typically attractive, well-dressed and kempt -- the very definition of the bella figura.

But in "Gomorra," whose title plays on the biblical place Gomorrah and the name of the Naples crime syndicate, Camorra, most of the men are fat, slovenly, poorly-dressed and just plain ugly. And the woman aren't much better.

I don't say this to be mean; I say it to indicate just how different Gomorra world is from the rest of Italy.

The housing projects shown in the movie paint a portrait of desperation that would be hard to exaggerate. No gondolas, no spaghetti alle vongole, no stately museums here. Just depressing, run-down, squalid tenement blocks where people live as though in jail cells for fear of leaving the house and meeting a bullet.

While watching the movie, I remembered that when I was reading the book, I would forget at times that all the people, all the scenarios, all the scenes were real. I think I would forget because it just seems so unreal.

Some of the best scenes in the movie are the ones that show the subtle differences in the lives of many people in the Naples area.

For example, there's a scene where one of the main characters, Pasquale, who works as a tailor in the Camorra-controlled textile industry, sees that a dress he slaved over was worn by Scarlett Johansson to the Academy Awards. He's briefly pleased, and looks around for a moment, and then realizes there's no one he can tell.

I also think it shows a new dimension in mob movies (or indeed, mob reality). This mob doesn't just control the flow of cigarettes or drugs or weapons. It controls textiles!

The movie continues at the Landmark in Atlanta. For more information on the film, go here:


Anonymous said...

Ciao.. mi chiamo Rossella e mi sono appena trasferita ad Atlanta dall'Italia..sono ancora abbastanza confusa perchè le differenze sono tantissime!!
Se ho capito bene anche tu sei italiana o comunque hai vissuto in Italia..mi piacerebbe avere qualche consiglio-suggerimento per vivere bene in questa città..

Ciambellina said...

Ciao Rossella e benvenuta ad Atlanta!

Il tempo sta per essere bellissimo qui ad Atlanta (gia' oggi si stava bene) e credo che fra poco non rimpiangerai il trasloco, anche se e' un po' difficile muoversi in citta'.

Come dici tu, le differenze sono tante. Mandami un email ( e possiamo chiacchierare un po'.

Tim said...

Ciao, Ciambellina!

I'm hoping to read the book. I don't know when the film will get here in Allentown.

How bout that Milan/Napoli match???? I think Napoli was robbed.

Stay well.


p.s. love the photos of the cool red sports car! You look like you belong in it!


Ciambellina said...

Hey hey!!!!! So glad you could make it to the party. I see you have a Blogger ID now -- allora I expect to see your posts more often!

The film might show up at the 19th St. Theater and in fact you could even suggest it to them. They show some great films there so it's not outside the realm of possibilities. The film was in many ways better than the book because it's more concise. But if you want, I can lend you the book in the original Italian -- ??!!

I chose to focus in one aspect of the movie -- the squalor -- but I could have also written about the performances -- many of them were top-notch.

Hey there's lots of biking down here -- when are you guys going to visit?!

Un abbraccio,