“Gomorra”, based on the novel by Roberto Saviano, was filmed in Naples by Matteo Garrone who also directed his most famous movie, “L’ Imbalsamatore”, in the Campania region.
“Il Divo”, on the other hand, is the latest and most ambitious project from Neapolitan director Paolo Sorrentino, and was produced by Francesca Cima and Nicola Giuliano’s Indigo Film, which has already made a number of unconventional and interesting films in the Campania region such as “L’uomo in più”, also by Sorrentino, and “La guerra di Mario” by Antonio Capuano.
“Having two movies in competition at Cannes is a great coup for our movie industry,” says Toni Servillo, one of the protagonists of the five episodes in “˜Gomorra’, who also plays Giulio Andreotti in “Il Divo”. “Garrone and Sorrentino are two directors who try to combine civil themes with a personal interpretation of social and political nature through the stories they tell.
Their movies offer a reflection on Italy and try to recount our history and identity through their own points of view.
These two guys are original film-makers who, with each movie, take on very personal linguistic and thematic challenges.
They present a complex cinematographic view of a country which is becoming “flattened” and featureless.
The vision of Italian life is often “˜pacified’ and anesthetized by the movies currently being produced here, but those two employ a large dose of complexity and I am pleased to be part of their projects.”
The two directors themselves have said that they are happy to be venturing into the most important Film Festival in the world together:
“This is proof that Cannes welcomes diversity”, says Sorrentino.
“For my part, I have never repeated a model so that I could go and present my movie on La Croisette.
This time feels just like another debut because making “Il Divo” was as difficult as making a first film.
Initially I had some doubts that the movie could be understood by an international Festival given its deeply Italian nature.
Being selected for the Competition was a great surprise.
For me, every time is like the first time because I believe I have made three very different movies”.
Matteo Garrone is also extremely satisfied with this double feat: “Obviously the French “˜couldn’t help themselves’.
Seeing as Italian movies are not held in particularly high regard abroad (often justifiably so) this is a very important achievement.
Both Paolo and I work on representing a reality which is not an imitation but an interpretation.
For us, the visual idea linked to the story is more important than providing information.
My hope is that our films manage to move the audience, to hit them in the stomach.
I like to think that rationality takes second place to the emotional response of the audience.
The most important thing is to excite them.”
A dual success which, in one way or another, makes all Italian movie buffs proud, in particular those who, like Maurizio Gemma, General Manager of the Film Commission Regione Campania, in addition to supporting the work of Sorrentino and Garrone, has always tried to promote the region, as well as the skills and film-makers with links to the area:
“The merit is, obviously, all theirs: we can only rejoice in the great success of these two film-makers as well as the producers.
It is extraordinary that two such complex projects both got into a Festival like Cannes”.
Gemma continues: “We followed these movies very closely: for “Gomorra” we organized a proper welcome and solidarity circuit, asking the city councils and territorial representatives in the provinces of Naples, Caserta and the area around Vesuvius to give the production companies as much support as necessary to help speed up the procedures for obtaining the various permits”.
Maurizio Gemma is very aware of the image problems created by the waste disposal emergency in the region as well as the threatening presence of the Camorra (Neapolitan Mafia).
At the same time, however, he is optimistic about the potential of a territory that has a lot to give to the Italian audiovisual industry. “Campania is a land of great contradictions: despite all our region’s well known problems, it is still a very welcoming and fascinating land.
We have always had a very transparent approach to Campania’ difficulties: certainly the media assault of recent months has been particularly damaging for everybody and, instead of helping to solve our problems, the excesses created have exacerbated the situation, pushing all the good work carried out to date and everything that could be done in the future into the background.
We accept and appreciate the implacable view presented by film-makers, but it is more complex and difficult to “absorb” the blows caused by media exaggerations that lose sight of any objectivity and fail to recognize the healthy fabric of the production and social realities of an entire region.
The principle of reality should never be forgotten or relegated to second place”.
In a certain sense, “Gomorra” could become the emblem of the new Campania regional cinema or, at least, what can be realized in Campania and, consequently, in Italy.
An “˜incandescent’ topic tackled in one of the most internationally successful Italian books written by Roberto Saviano
“We tried, unsuccessfully, to acquire the book rights for publication,” says producer Domenico Procacci.
“This did, however, give us a big advantage when it came to making the film that we had glimpsed amongst the many stories in the book. We felt it was the right thing to develop this material and not reproduce it with a simple transposition.
We tried to find a director who could re-interpret the stories told by Saviano and transform them into a movie.
Matteo Garrone took up the challenge immediately and we are very pleased that Saviano was involved in the screenplay, along with the pool of screenwriters who work alongside Garrone, including Ugo Chiti, Massimo Gaudioso and another excellent Neapolitan writer, Maurizio Braucci”.
Procacci explains his reasons for pursuing this important, yet complex project:
“Lots of film-makers and producers wanted to talk about our world and deal with the presentday. It is a good thing to talk about the present and the recent past: we all need to do this and the concomitant release of “Il Divo” and “Gomorra” could spur other people on to talk about this country as well.”
The founder of Fandango insists that we should not demonize the success of movies for teenagers or create senseless contrasts in the marketplace:
“The success of that type of movie should be “˜used’ to establish a relationship with younger audiences.
It is a point of contact that we should exploit in order to gradually raise the quality offered by our products, telling important stories well. This does not mean madly exploiting any particular vein, but having a capital to protect and nurture, accompanying young cinema-goers over time”.
Procacci’s next steps will be taken outside our national borders:
“We have to try and broaden the catchment area for our movies. I think we are succeeding with “Caos Calmo” and “Gomorra”. My ambition is to join Gabriele Muccino, as well as other Italian film-makers, in making English movies outside our own industry.”
His colleague, producer Nicola Giuliano, is on the same wavelength:
“It is diffi cult to understand why two of the most important young Italian directors, Paolo Sorrentino and Matteo Garrone, have decided, at the same time, to tackle two such strong stories which are separate yet complementary.
Maybe it is because, in Italy, the individual is becoming detached from the collective dimension of everyday life in this country.
These two movies are the first responses to the big question: What can we do about everything that is happening in Italy?” Giuliano adds “Even though, for “Il Divo”, nearly every distributor has shut the door in our face, we think that it is very important for our country to have the chance to make movies which are courageous and different.
We know that this movie will cause a lot of debate, but everything you see on the screen is well documented in the statements made by the “˜mafiosi'”.
There is still some doubt in the mind of the multi award-winning producer of “The girl by the lake”:
“Even though Sorrentino and Garrone are fighting for something very important, for the moment the big market is moving in another direction.”
“Il Divo”, which cost four and a half million Euros, is co-produced by Indigo along with Parco Film and the French company, Babe.
The foreign sales will be handled by Germany’s Beta and the movie will be distributed in Italy by Lucky Red, whose managing director, Andrea Occhipinti, concludes “Il Divo is a very touching and important movie. Giulio Andreotti has had a very complex life and the time is right for making a movie about the light and dark sides of his forty years in power.
We are ready to face the controversy and think that a Festival such as Cannes is the perfect place for the world debut of such an interesting and original movie.”
ITALIANS IN COMPETITION
In addition to “Il Divo” by Paolo Sorrentino and “Gomorra” by Matteo Garrone, both in competition, Italy will be represented at the Cannes Film Festival by Marco Tullio Giordana’s “Sangue Pazzo” (Special Screenings), with Monica Bellucci and Luca Zingaretti playing the acting couple Luisa Ferida and Osvaldo Valente accused of collaborating with the Fascists.
“Il resto della notte” by Francesco Munzi will be presented in the “Quinzaine des Realisateurs” section.
Wim Wenders’ movie “The Palermo Shooting”, in competition, features an Italian protagonist (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and settings.
Italy will also be represented by Daniele Mazzocca at the annual workshop with 22 quality European movie producers.
The International Jury, chaired by Sean Penn, will also include actor and director Sergio Castellitto.