Monday, February 16, 2009


There are few films that make me sick to my stomach; Matteo Garrone’s Gomorra has now been added to that list. However it’s brilliant. Italian film like I’ve never seen it before. Based on the non-fiction book by the same name the film looks at the Camorra, the biggest mafia syndicates in Napoli, Italy. Gamorra won the Palm d’Or at Cannes this past year and was nominated at the Golden Globes for best foreign language film this past month.

What I want to talk about most in regards of this film is its place within the realm of Italy’s social problem cinema. This film is the mafia movie like I’ve never seen it before. I don’t know why but when I walked into this movie I expected something a little more satirical. I guess I am used to the cinema of Italy dealing with issues like poverty, war and such with that little comedic smirk. But once Gomorra began I realized that there wasn’t even a smudge of comedy, as the film is just brutal. Bearing all of Napoli’s dirty laundry out to dry is an understatement. Despite all the drugs, murder, deceit, and hate displayed in this film, for me, it’s heartbreaking for one big reason. The reason is when Garrone shows Don Ciro a financial associate to the Camorra walking away from a gun slaughter—maybe about 200ft—then pulls the camera back to show just how close all this is happening to the main highway, and the rest of Italy. Throughout the film you think this is the slum, these people are secluded, away from all the rest of Napoli, but there not. This is happening in Italy’s backyard and it’s being tolerated, and left alone. This is what is sickening and this is what makes this film a progression for the social problem film in Italy. It creates a new vein of films that aren’t afraid to show—in brutal bloody honesty—just what is going on. It sucks that Gamorra wasn’t nominated for the foreign language category for the Oscars. But in spite of it making me sickly, I highly commend and recommend this film; it's a must see for any lover of Italian cinema.

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