‘Gomorrah’ Is a Bleak Look at Crime and Punishment in Naples

Gomorrah Is a Bleak Look at Crime and Punishment in Naples:

If you have drooled at the mention of Godfather and admired Al Pacino for his apt portrayal of a Mafia drug lord then it’s time to add another gut-wrenching criminal series to your watchlist.

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Set in the suburbs of Naples, the groundbreaking Italian series “Gomorra” digs deep into the organised crime network of the notorious Camorra and brings to light the power struggle between gangsters and drug dealers.

The Camorra, one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy was exposed by Roberto Saviano in his bestselling investigative narrative “Gomorrah”, which gives an on ground understanding of drug dealing and mob rivalry. From the Hollywood inspired lifestyle of the Mafia bosses to the dirty street feuds of the local gangs, this intrepid adaptation is set to get the heart racing for more.

The series moves around a 2004 turf war between rival gangs in the suburb of Scampia. Co-produced by Sky Italia, Fandango, Cattleya, Beta Film and LA7, under the supervision of Saviano and the direction of Stefano Sollima, Francesca Comencini, and Claudio Cupellini it consists of twelve steamy episodes.

To avoid inconvenience, the real characters have been replaced with fictional characters and the  series airs a ruthless crime empire intricately woven between a family. So we have the robust crime boss, Pietro Savastano played by Fortunato Cerlino, his venomous wife Immacolata (Maria Pia Calzone) and their brawny son Genny ( Salvatore Esposito). The baby king is all set to inherit his father’s kingdom and is taught the family’s ways by his crafty gruesome mother who oversees the widely strewn network of Camorristi.

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Though the characters are said to be fictional and do not resemble the actual gangsters exposed in Saviano’s “Gomorrah” but one cannot resist comparing Pietro’s character to Paolo Di Lauro, founder of the Di Lauro clan. Once counted amongst the richest and most prominent men in Italy he was arrested for Mafia connections, drug dealing and extortion.

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The series is pretty unique in its undertaking of the native Neapolitan drive by filming on location amidst the war struck Scampia and nearby Secondigliano and using the local language instead of Italian. Most of the actors are native Neapolitans and further add to the authenticity of the plot. One such actor, Ciro Di Marzio played by Marco D’Amore feels proud of been part of a series that dares to be this original and plays the role of a Camorristi aiming to cause a rift between the ruling family. On the choice of language, D’Amore states that “Neapolitan is the language of the theater. It means that this TV show looks and sounds real because the actors were able to use a language they are used to thinking in.”

The background set in native Naples to depict the desolate and horror struck neighborhood that was home ground to drug dealers and traffickers were inspired by Michael Mann whose style intrigued director Stefano Sollima. However, shooting in the dangerous streets of Scampia brought more than originality to play as an ongoing turf-war left many dead and soon the crew had to relocate.

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Saviano’s book, which highlighted the realities of the Neapolitan home ground been used as a mafia front to export drugs ignited a nationwide frenzy both through the local and diplomatic quarters and led to the arrest of many prominent drug lords and their accomplices. Where many acknowledged his efforts to expose such a high scale organized crime syndicate conditions became tough for him as others threatened to take his life.

Similarly, the series has caused a divide between Italian response as many consider it a stain on the Italian image. However, like Saviano’s book, the series depiction of the Neapolitan secret society, oozes originality and has been well received by many viewers and critics. With the popularity of the first season, a second season is underway and promises to be more intriguing.

A system within a system that stands corrupted to its root, revealing the epicentre of this abyss has endangered Roberto Saviano’s life while he stands steadfast to his cause…

Do you believe that a disease that clings to the core can be detached without affecting the entire structure ? Share your thoughts in the comment box below… 

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