Films & Schedules

  • Gomorrah

  • Matteo Garrone

135 minutes

Production Company:
Domenico Procacci
Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni Di Gregorio, Massimo Gaudioso, Matteo Garrone, Roberto Saviano, based on the novel by Saviano
Production Designer:
Paolo Bonfini
Marco Onorato
Marco Spoletini
Leslie Shatz
Principal Cast: Toni Servillo, Gianfelice Imparato, Maria Nazionale, Salvatore Cantalupo

Canadian Distributor:
Seville Pictures
US Distributor:
IFC Films
International Sales Agent:
Fandango Portobello Sales

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Roberto Saviano became a cause célèbre upon the publication of Gomorrah, his unnerving exposé of Italy's most famous Mafia organization, the Neapolitan Camorra. The book became a best-seller, Saviano was forced into hiding, and even now he travels with security officers.

For his wonderful adaptation of Gomorrah, writer-director Matteo Garrone and his co-writers have selected a number of stories from Saviano's book, which accumulate into a scathing condemnation of contemporary Italian society. Even Italians inured to the tales of corruption uncovered over the years were shocked by Saviano's – and now Garrone's – findings.

Focusing on the crime-ridden suburbs of Scampia and Secondigliano, Garrone's film weaves in and out of five separate narratives, cumulatively building a kaleidoscopic portrait of present-day Naples. An adolescent boy, naively believing that the Camorra will turn him into a man, becomes involved in the life of a young mother; “il sottomarino,” a middle-aged go-between, delivers monthly payments to families who have relatives in jail; a respectable businessman finds himself in the disconcerting position of handling toxic waste disposal; a couple of arrogant hooligans are determined to strike out on their own, unsettling the local balance of power; and a high-fashion tailor subcontracted by the Camorra risks his life by getting into bed with Chinese rivals.

In each vignette, Garrone closely follows his characters' daily routines, but as events unfold, betrayal and violence become inevitable. In a world of such extreme confusion, relationships are constantly shifting and loyalties confused. This is war, but of the guerilla kind.

On the surface, Gomorrah simply reflects the gestures and modest aspirations of ordinary people. Yet collectively these small narratives amount to a devastating indictment of a crime ring that extends to the furthest reaches of society. Full of local colour and texture, as well as a gritty sense of the internal and external landscapes inhabited by the protagonists, Gomorrah is a revelation.

Piers Handling

Matteo Garrone was born in Rome, where he attended art school, worked as an assistant cameraman and dedicated several years to painting. He directed one short film, Silhouette (96), and one documentary, Oreste Pipolo, Wedding Photographer (98). His debut feature, Land in the Middle (97), won the Special Jury Award and the Cipputi Award at the Turin Film Festival. Other features include Guests (98), Roman Summer (00), The Embalmer (02), First Love (04) and Gomorrah (08), winner of the Grand Prix Award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

Cadillac People's Choice Award