When announcing the bill for Venice 74, the director Alberto Barbera mentioned “Ammore e Malavita” which is in competition in the main section, defining it as a “gamble” for the Festival.
It is also a gamble for Marco and Antonio Manetti, the directors and scriptwriters better known as the Manetti Bros:
“Our film certainly does not belong to the Festival genre”, agrees Marco, “we feel both honored and scared: we are going to be playing on a pitch that is not our own, but it is an important pitch. We are honored to be taking part and frightened by the idea of not being up to it”.
“Ammore e malavita”, produced by Madeleine and Manetti Bros Film with Rai Cinema, is a “love and bullets” story.
With this movie the filmmakers return to Naples a er the musical comedy “Song’e Napule” presented out of competition at the Rome Film Festival 2013 and released in cinemas to excellent public acclaim.
Naples returns, the Camorra returns but, above all, music returns and becomes the protagonist.
This could almost be de ned as the rst Neapolitan musical crime- noir but don’t dare define it as a genre film:
“We feel rather pigeon-holed”, protests Marco Manetti, “we are the up- holders of free not genre cinema”.
A freedom that has found its natural environment in the Neapolitan capital: as natives of Rome they do not hide their passion for Naples:
“As a city it is a source of great inspiration that brings to mind stories, characters, situations, and makes you want to tell people about them”, adds Marco.
“Ammore e malavita“ is inspired by very high models: “we looked to “West Side Story”, a great forerunner of musical crime, but we also looked at Bollywood and all the Indian cinema that fearlessly mixes music, love, action and death”.
But above all the film wants to be “a reinterpretation of melodrama in our own, modern key”
Filming in Naples: “Dispelling all the clichés I can say it is extraordinarily easy because the Neapolitans love show business”.
And most importantly there is a Film Commission that provided “the keys” to the region: “that enormously facilitated our work, it is something that every Film Commission should do first and foremost”.
With the assistance of the structure led by Maurizio Gemma, the film was shot in very popular places like the Port of Naples.
It also obtained permission from Monte di Procida Town Council to film on the Acqua- morta beach at the height of the season, and to film free of charge in a generally very expensive location like Naples International Airport; the Film Commission also “accompanied” the Manetti brothers in di cult places such as the Parish of Santa Maria alla Sanità.
“It was particularly gratifying” recalls Marco Manetti, “because at the end of filming the inhabitants of the Sanità neighborhood thanked us, saying: you have brought a smile, this is the first time”.
It was possibly also the first time that the stars of the film, even if they are all members of the Camorra, “were able to belong more to the world of feelings than that of social condemnation”, where “love triumphs over death and a killer ceases to be a killer for love”.
The stars who sing (unusual for an Italian film), are the same as in “Song’e Napule” (Serena Rossi, Giampaolo Morelli, Carlo Buccirosso), with the addition of newcomer Claudia Gerini.
“It was a crazy job: the songs were written at the same time as the screenplay, so we and Michelangelo La Neve (who wrote the script with us) were joined by Nelson, a Neapolitan singer and lyricist who wrote the words, basically becoming a co-scriptwriter”.