Italian-American actor-director John Turturro is beloved by the Italians—Venice Fest audiences treat him like a huge star. In fact, ill-fated Romance and Cigarettes, which was caught in the backdraft at the end of United Artists, was such a hit in Italy that financeers stepped up to hire Turturro to direct a doc about the music of Naples. Passione is not unlike Fatih Akin’s Crossing the Bridge: it’s a “musical adventure” showcasing the music, old and new, of Naples, via a mix of old footage and new performances by the city’s top artists. The film was exhilarating, and more than one moviegoer walked out of the theater humming. I also admired Turturro’s Mac and Illuminata, even though American moviegoers have yet to click with his movies.
I talked to Turturro at the Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto about Passione, which also scored with TIFF audiences; I’m sure it will be picked up for stateside release. Trailer and interview below.