Now this is a strange, strange story. You may remember Matteo Garrone’s 2009 film “Gomorrah.” The title is a play on words which crosses the Biblical city of Gomorrah and the name of the Neopolitan mafia ‘Camorra,’ and was a damning indictment of the activities of the Camorra and the often unexpected areas their illegal activities have stretched to and influenced. On the surface it’s a powerful and brave film that dares to take on the Camorra – Roberto Saviano, whose non-fiction book the film was based on, had already been forced to flee into police protection.
However, now a former Camorra figure turned informant, Oreste Spagunolo, is alleging that Garrone paid a Camorra kingpin a €20,000 bribe while filming “Gomorrah.” A police probe is looking into whether Camorra figures had a say in how the film was made (and if they did, how damning would the original version have been!), whether producers were forced to patronize Camorra-controlled businesses for supplies, and if the Camorra figures requested protection money when filming was taking place in Naples’ dangerous neighborhoods.
It’s a shocking allegation, and one that could potentially lessen the impact of an otherwise fantastic film, which was the first to bring the activities of this previously largely unknown crime syndicate to a wider audience. But then again, do these allegations (if proved to be true) only further drive home the message that the Camorra reign over the Neapolitan region and that it is almost impossible to operate there without drawing their attention? Maybe it’s all part of Garrone’s meta-narrative? Well, we hope not, and we hope the allegations prove to be false. But if something good does come from this story hopefully it’s that some will be prompted to go back and discover “Gommorah,” and maybe watch it from a slightly different perspective. [THR]