Review #Venezia74: Ammore e Malavita

Directed by the Manetti bros. and set in Naples, Ammore e Malavita is a musical based on a crime and mafia story.

When the Manetti bros found out that Ammore e Malavita was in competition at the Venice Film Festival, they were very suprised. Competing between Clooney and Guillermo del Toro is an honour for the Italian brothers, and they didn’t think it would happen with this film.

Ammore e Malavita is a musical set in Naples based on a crime story on mafia and love., in fact the English title is Love and Bullets. It begins with a funeral and with Donna Maria (Claudia Gerini) crying over the coffin of his husband, Don Vincenzo (Carlo Buccirosso), a Camorra boss called “King of the fish“. Suddenly, someone arrives that looks dangerous or an enemy, but the story is set back to the moment before Don Vincenzo’s death. Just from the beginning we get the taste of how the musical will be: dialogues in Naples dialect and songs in Naples characteristic genre, neomelodico.

With the flashback we see how Don Vincenzo’s death is actually fake, and how it’s done from an idea of Donna Maria, inspired by the 007 film “You Only Live Twice“. Don Vincenzo fakes his death so they can run away from Naples and live happily ever after, but it will not go as expected. A nurse sees the real Vincenzo and his two bodyguards Ciro (Giampaolo Morelli) and Rosario (Raiz), called The Tigers, are ordered to kill her. When Ciro meets the girl we find out that she is Fatima (Serena Rossi), Ciro’s ex girlfriend and one love. From this point on, Ciro betrays everyone and also kills everyone. He wants to protect Fatima from death but he is in danger because all Naples is looking for him.

After a night killing all of his ex collegues, Fatima decides to use the same plan used by Donna Maria and fake Ciro’s death, but in a better way. The film ends happily with Don Vincenzo and Donna Maria in prison, and Ciro and Fatima in love in Honolulu.

Ammore e Malavita is a wonderful musical that puts under the spotlight a different type of city. Naples has been represented as the capital of mafia and crime through the film and series of Gomorra – a reference is made at the beginning of the film when a guide takes some tourists to Scampia – but the Manetti bros represent Naples in a different and more pop way. Their music is a trademark for the city, they care about their traditions and are very patriotic, and this is what this musical does. It shows a Naples full of love, songs and mafia, but in a funny and “trash” kind of way. You can see that the acting is exaggerated, the songs are sometimes funny and nonsense, but there is still some action, and this is why this film works. It is not the effort of depicting a different Naples, one that doesn’t match reality. It is made to redeem Naples and show how it can be a perfect place to shoot a film. Every character of the story has a biography, has a personality with its own kind of deepness, and has an important role in the structure of the story.

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