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SUBURRA Stefano Sollima’s newest mafia movie triumphs in Italy

Suburra-1Stefano Solima‘s new movie, Suburra, unravels in a dark and gloomy Rome. The name of the film takes us back 2000 years, stretching in time and space into an almost ancestral scenario. Taken from a novel by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo (author of Romanzo Criminale), it is the story of today’s squalid, soulless Rome. An evolution of Romanzo Criminale, but with less mythical characters. Casual events and with human mistakes mingled in all social classes. The story starts off with the death of a girl, giving Rome a sullen, feminine identity. The girl, a prostitute, dies of overdose during an orgy organized by Filippo Malgradi (Pierfrancesco Favino), an ineffective politician who strives to look like the decent man he’s not, and high-profile prostitute Sabrina (Giulia Elettra Gorietti), who spends her youth between her opposing sides: innocent ingenuity and awful vanity.

The death of the underage girl pushes Malgradi against a corner, opening the doors of this metaphorical Suburra behind him, and leaving way for the local criminals to stretch their filthy hands on him. The first criminal is Samurai (Claudio Amendola), a gray shadow raised during the First Republic, who is constantly doing business with evil for his power. Samurai’s interest throughout the story is to close a deal involving rich, powerful investors who want to turn Ostia into the Italian Las Vegas. But Ostia is not free territory: it is run by another criminal and partner of Samurai, Numero 8 (Alessandro Borghi), impulsive and ambitious, the only dreamer of the story, and his girlfriend Viola (Greta Scarano), a romantic junkie who will do anything to save her man’s life.

To join the list of characters whose lives are intertwined in the story is a famous PR man of Rome, Sebastiano (Elio Germano), weak, desperate, double-faced man ready to blow; the Anacleti’s, a powerful family of gipsies headed by violent boss Manfredi Anacleti (Adamo Dionisi). Acting is spot-on, with Favino and Dionisi reaching excellence, all actors give a great performance.

Suburra, with its spectacular, never boring storytelling and action-packed scenes is close to an American niche movie, framed by background music by French band M83. Paolo Carnera‘s photography is sensational. The movie casts on the audience an intense, sullen feeling: the never-ending rain, the dark skies, the serious, desperate look on the characters’ faces…

The suburbs of Rome are the background of the movie, whose scenes and emotions alternate: extreme sex scenes, followed by cruel violence, power and victory following the deepest defeat and desperation. Suburra is now airing across Canada, the US and South America through Netflix, who will produce and distribute the Suburra series in 2017. Netflix is making its entrance in Italy introducing a series which will probably be as successful as Romanzo Criminale – La Serie and Gomorra.

It’s definitely a great movie to distribute abroad, showing Italy’s skills in photography, editing, directing and acting. Criminality and Mafia sure seem to be our forte.

Stefano Sollima’s genius found a sublime way of bringing on the big screen our modern days squalor of a city where the rain never ceases and nobody seems to be ever safe from it.

by Gabriele Scarfone

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