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“I hadn’t seen the film La La Land yet while we were working on Ammore e malavita (Love and Bullets), the revival of the musical genre is a stroke of good luck. Manetti Bros. are competing with their new film in Venice 74. The film deals in part with the same topics of their previous film Song e’ Napule, with new power. The latter was a film about music, this is a musical with song and dance during the scenes –the new film brought back part of the cast Giampaolo Morelli and Serena Rossi, with the addition od Carlo Buccirosso, Claudia Gerini and the singer Raiz – who also naturally brings crime elements to the film (for example in Gomorra) and those of the classical ‘sceneggiata’, and many more quotes from cult movies, from 007 to Back to the Future, also paying homage to the classic Flashdance. The result is entertaining, however at times the script –by Michelangelo La Neve who also wrote the previous film – gets lost in the abundance of elements, leaning on them, and leading to a slightly subdued second part where the plot and narration are slightly forced and the ending is obvious. The first two songs are of great impact, with an interesting reflection on spreading ‘Gomorrismo’, and the shootout scene on the notes of a neomelodic song is technically very refined. There are high points and low points, but this didn’t interfere with the applause greeting Marco and Antonio, champions of the genre in Italy, both during the screening and during the press conference. Paolo Del Brocco, the manager of Rai Cinema who produced the film in collaboration with Madeleine, confirmed the suggestion: “I presented the film in Venice as the Neapolitan reply to La La Land”. 

“Naples means many things, some negative but many positive – the directors state – For us, Naples is the Italian capital of culture, music, cinema and architecture. For example, take Gatta Cenerentola and the success it achieved in Venice. But unfortunately the city is famous for other aspects. We are not musicians but we worked with Pivio and De Scalzi and tried to be as involved as possible in the composition of the themes. The result is a strange score, we worked on the choreographies, with quotes from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We sort of make fun of this spreading ‘Gomorrismo’ and the film was inspired by a line we overheard: “Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Rome has the Coliseum, we have the vele di Scampia”, horrible buildings that only the Neapolitan spirit could ever transform into a tourist attraction and means of making money. But Naples also has a beautiful gulf. The film was meant to be a sequel of Passione, the documentary made by John Turturro on Neapolitan music. That’s what the producer asked, but the film changed shape in our hands. We are not documentary makers, this is how the film turned out. We wanted to make a film with a traditional script and modern music. The script was naturally filtered through what we like. It’s our film, it’s not a copy of another scheme: even if we looked to Grease for the balance between song and speech.”

“It’s not that hard to pass from reciting to singing – sais Morelli – it happened naturally, when you’re talking you start to sing but in this case, unlike what happens in other musicals, the song leads the story, helping to amplify emotions. I felt like a mix of Travolta and Mario Merola”. Serena Rossi sais “I had a few technical issue, because for some slow-motion scenes they had me sing at double the speed”. Whereas Raiz sais: “I had the opposite experience, I usually only ever sing. Here I had to explain myself better in words. Basically, the musical genre and the Neapolitan sceneggiata share the same roots.” “You only need to pretend you’re acting” Buccirosso adds. 

“I learn languages with little effort – Claudia Gerini concludes – I have family roots in Campania but I studied a lot because I didn’t want my Neapolitan accent to be too heavy. I also worked on the gestures for highlighting the humble origins of my character, a servant who marries her boss, but it’s not a marriage of interest. She truly loves him.”

On the sidelines, the mayor of Naples Luigi de Magistris stated in an interview to adnkronos: “the awakening of the city –he said before leaving the Lido, where he attended the official screening of Gatta Cenerentola – begins with culture. So I want to express my joy and gratitude for what I saw: tradition, creativity, innovation and the strength of Neapolitan cinematography. In the past three years Naples has witnessed an increase in cinema production: 350 productions, not only Neapolitan by also Italian and from other parts of the world. This can only make us proud” he concluded. 

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VENEZIA 74

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