Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Not exactly the kind of movie I enjoy watching, but I had to watch the 2008 Cannes Grand Prix that has been receiving accolades in other festivals. The movie looks and feels like cinema verité with some interesting arty moments but mainly this movie is a reality check for life around a crime group that controls and involves people’s lives to their service.
Based on Roberto Saviano non-fiction novel of the same title the movie tells five stories all related to activities by the Camorra clans members and some happening around a dilapidated living complex that becomes another character in the movie. From the five stories the only one that made me smile was the one about Pasquale the tailor who is offered an opportunity to teach his trade in an illegal Chinese-run counterfeiting workshop.
Have to admit that after watching the movie I read about the Camorra, as I had no idea what that exactly was. After reading I absolutely understood why I had the feeling that I was watching a movie from any of several Latin American countries like Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, etc. See, movies teaches us that the Sicilian mafia was very organized and to me this group was not that much, it looked so alike to what movies show us about crime groups in those Latin American countries and also what you can see when you have lived in any of those countries.
So, the basic difference between let’s say, for example, Tropa Elite and Gomorra is that the later has better cinematography, very good handheld camera takes, excellent framing and editing, slow pace when it applies and faster when necessary (i.e. good rhythm) and five stories that are successfully told simultaneously with some being reasonably violent while others told with caustic humor (Don Ciro story) and sarcastic humor (the tailor- loved when they showed Scarlett Johansson at the Venice Film Festival) which eases the watching. I mention all this as I believe that this is a must be seen film for many Latin American filmmakers that work the crime genre.
I do recognize that is a good movie but definitively tells a story that is not pleasant to watch for me and well, I endured the complete movie but it wasn’t easy.
I imagine that if you like movies like Tropa Elite, then this is a must be seen for you and if you have to watch award winner movies from prestigious festivals, then this movie is also a must be seen for you.
But if you do not enjoy cinema verité style with crime stories, then I suggest skipping the movie.