Text by Francesco Alò in collaboration with badtaste.it
Translation by Bianca Baroni
Photo: Alessio Costantino
Wasn’t the first season of the tv series Gomorra over?
Maybe there was a long line on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway.
The first italian movie of the competition, directed by Francesco Munzi, seems to be a long episode of that tv series, inspired by Matteo Garrone’s masterpiece, in turn, free adaptation of Roberto Saviano’s best-seller. Who rightly thinks that the contemporary cinema is being constantly influenced by tv series in terms of creativity and expressiveness, even in Italy, will be interested about this movie. The chase is over, my friends. Now, it’s all about finding out whether cinema will be able to keep up with television. The fact that the first italian film competiting for Venice Film Festival proves these theories should make us reflect and also get us down., depending on how you see it.
It’s the history of a calabrian family composed by gagsters -all but one: the firstborn, a veterinary, which at first seems to be protagonist of the eightys’ spot for Amaro Montenegro and that ends up to shoot better than James Bond.
He’s the only one who refuse their criminal tradition and lives in the Aspromonte mountains as a savage hermit, far frome everyone and everything. He’s Luciano and is very religious, almost fanatic. Instead, Luigi is more beastly and mundane: he followed in his father’s footsteps and he’s the one ready to shoot, kick a dog to steal a lamb that they had to cook and, obviously, he’s keen to womanize. He’s played Marco Leonardi, the ex boy in love with movies in Cinema Paradiso: a great return after the embarassing years with The Stendhal Syndrome (1996) or Maradona, hand of God (2007). there’s the third brother too: Rocco, the bookkeeper. He’s cold, lived in Milan, always controlled, wears, obviously glasses and he rather counts wad of bills, contracting at the last floor in a skyscraper, between people in suit, instead of meeting foreign gangsters dealing drug problems, as Luigi does.
The mystic Luciano, the beast Luigi and the smart Rocco. Hitchcock would have said “macguffin” to indicate the pretext which will force these three to come back to Calabria to face, maybe, a clan war. Women prays whispering aside complaining about some noisy target shooting (all but Rocco’s: she’s a arrogant “milanese” uselessy played by an all-time low Barbara Bobulova, but it’s not her fault).
Men speak in dialect, scowl at each other and strinctly follow the plot of great movies such as The Godfather (the moment when the cold Rocco loses his mind is just alike the rise of the sophisticated Micheal Corleone), Goodfellas (the childish passion for food and its preparation) and naturally Gomorra, the film (there’s a more confused bunch of kids that don’t respect traditions) and the tv series (who to go against and who to join).
There’s never a creative flair, a moment that could make the movie move away from the paths already walked by masters like Coppola and Scorsese.
What’s the difference between this movie and Iron Man 3?
Can we really consider this audiovisual product as something belonging to art cinema?
The government? Full of rude policemen that seem to wander around rummage into these gangsters’ garbage bins without respect -and this seems to annoy Munzi so much. The media?represented by a shrunken newspaper sheet, maybe because the unlucky protagonist of the article was there defined with a resterctive “Aspromonte shepherd”.
Why should we become fond of something we have already seen a thousand time, recently on tv?
Anime nere isa mediocre gangster movie, not good nor bad, exretemly predictable and mechanic as a sequel with no sould, boring in his plot and that ends with a finale that yes, it’s surprising, but that leaves the audience embittered or very curious (and this curiosity won’t be satisfied, ever, and we don’t like this sadism at all). How can you develop a character that for the whole movie is far from violence and hastes weapons and his family’s criminal world… and that you make shoot better than James Bond? The point is: or it’s a huge cinematographic mistake (and we exclude that, we esteem Munzi) or the character here at issue hides a mystery that has just been revealed and so he needs future development, due to the coup de theatre just thrown at the audience.
But this is a film. And there won’t be a next episode which could fix this mess. And so? We must wait until the next episode which will never arrive.