Napoli Napoli Napoli
Abel Ferrara, Italy, 2009, color, video, 102'
See Naples and then die - that's what Goethe said. But there is not much of the beauty he so passionately celebrated to be found in this documentary by Abel Ferrara, who also directed the fiction film Bad Lieutenant. The city we see in Ferrara's portrait is more like the one portrayed in Roberto Saviano's book Gomorra, in which the violent criminality of the Camorra holds this southern Italian metropolis in its vice-like grip. Ferrara's entire oeuvre betrays a huge fascination for the underbelly of society. Here, he turns his attention to the less fortunate Neapolitans, such as the female prisoners in the Pozzuoli prison. These women get the opportunity to tell their tales - of powerlessness, violence, drug use and hopeless upbringings in the poorest parts of Naples. Some of them, the repeat offenders, are resigned to the life of crime they have adopted; others are fearful and emotional, having lost brothers and fathers in the violent battle between crime and the law. Social workers and politicians are doing their best to pass the buck back and forth, but in the end they are powerless to intervene in the harsh reality of a city overrun by Mafia influence. Ferrara intercuts the talking heads with a fictional crime story about two Mafiosi looking to settle up with a traitor.