By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
Who is this old guy with the mike in his throat?
Ah, the Pirate. He’s from a different clan. The clan the two kids steal the weapons from is the clan of the paisans, you know, very cruel. They are from Casal di Principe, in the countryside, where Saviano was born. They are the ones who want to kill Saviano, for talking out of church. It is different from the clans of Scampia. The loose cannons who steal the weapons, they are like kids playing in nature, they think they can rule; they couldn’t function this way in Scampia. Location is very important, it tells you much about character.
Going back to Saviano, I try to keep the movie and his plight as separate as possible, but it is complicated. The bosses were okay with the movie; otherwise, I couldn’t have made it in Scampia. They even were okay with Saviano’s book, as all the stories in it were old and the cops knew about them. But later, on talk shows, to sell the book even more, he divulged stories the cops didn’t know about. It’s terrible what’s happened to him, but he made a pact with the Devil, to have a best-seller.
In your previous films, you like to show professions, trades. Here, we learn what it’s like to be a tailor, what it’s like to be a bagman, etc.
It is very important for me to start with reality, for details, but just as important not to fall for the limitations of reality. Yet, it is a hard balance to achieve — reality sometimes kept intruding. For instance, the tanning salon where the guys get killed in the opening. I liked the idea of a modern version of the old gangster movies, a tanning salon instead of the barber shop. So I invented this. But when I met the [real] bosses, I discovered they all liked to go to this tanning salon! Which, if you live in a sunny place like Naples, is a bit weird.
You once told me something that would make any producer’s blood run cold: that on all your pictures you always reshoot the first week of work.
Yes, I do, but it’s all figured out in the budget; it’s planned that way. It comes from the way I started making movies. I was 26 when I made my first film. I was a painter, never went to film school, and didn’t start watching movies with interest until I was 19 or 20, when I spent one marvelous week in Venice, watching films at the festival as a spectator. Anyway, my painting was always narrative, trying to tell a story on canvas.
I just got curious about [movies], so I did it. I found some money [for a short film], which cost 10 million lira. If it was a disaster, I’d lock it up in my house and be finished with cinema. But this short won the prize at Nanni Moretti’s festival. So I made two more shorts with the prize money, put them together and won the Grand Prix in Turin. I decided then I’d found my means of expression.
Gomorrah opens in Los Angeles theaters on Friday, February 14. For Ella Taylor’s review, see New Reviews.
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