The Italian film director Antonio Capuano comes back on the big screen after La guerra di Mario with another film dedicated to his hometown, Napoli, a city full of breathtaking beauty as well as huge unresolved issues.
Napoli is here seen from a double view point: on one side we have Irene (Irene De Angelis), a young girl from the upper class who only looks at the city from above; on the other side there is Ciro (Gabriele Agrio), a fifteen-year-old scugnizzo (street urchin) who has hardly read five books in his life but knows life "first hand". The two protagonists only meet once, when Ciro takes part, together with three friends, in the raping of Irene. From this point on the film keeps the two stories separated: Ciro is taken the juvenile prison of Nisida while Irene goes on with her life trying to elaborate the trauma.
Dealing with such a difficult issue, Capuano leaves all the judgement outside the film, concentrating his attention on bare emotions; L’amore buio leaves no room for stereotypes: nothing is to be given for granted and even the cliché of the scugnizzo falls under the intense interpretation of the young and incredibly talented Gabriele Agrio. Too bad that the female leading role is not carried on with the same ability by the young Irene De Angelis, whose interpretation is hardly convincing, giving the viewer little chances of really getting the intimate side of her character: in a film like this, where the plot is reduced to its minimum, it is up to the actors to open spaces behind the words to let emotions flow.
It is clear that in the work Capuano, who is always the writer as well as the director of his films, the word has a special place and the screenplay and the dialogue are not only meant as a guideline for the shooting: the literary word, sometimes the poetry, make their way through the images creating either new harmonies or striking contrasts. While in his earlier works, especially in Luna Rossa, Capuano tended to impose the word over the characters making the acting quite artificial, here the author shows much more attention in mixing the ingredients. And among these ingredients a particular mention should also be given to the intelligent use of music and beautiful songs that make their way through the whole film.
But above the characters and the rest is the city itself that stands as the great protagonist of the feature: the hidden Napoli, with its narrow streets and Caravaggio's paintings being discovered by the amazed eyes of Irene and of Capuano himself.
It’s hard to say how a film that is so deeply rooted in Napoli, with its landscapes and its culture, might be appreciated abroad; we surely wish L’amore buio luck!
03 September, 2010
Posted by Isabella Weber at 00:14