Turturro, the American of CantaNapoli
An instinctive kaleidoscope which makes one feel like singing and dancing
At a first sight Passione seems an exhilarating, bright, sincere, successful movie. But also in the cold light of the day, the reasons to wish the film tour of the honorary Neapolitan, Turturro, a wide approval seems to us absolutely appropriate: the beloved actor and filmmaker from Brooklyn does not act the documentary-maker or musicologist and tries to motivate his medley of glocal, both Neapolitan and international songs on the basis of a very personal idea of mise en scène; the technical approach of this revision amended by the superexpert Federico Vacalebre of classical, modern and revised songs is world-class, (starting from the wonderful photography by Marco Pontecorvo); the instinctive and even naïve contact with the loved-hated metropolis gives moments of pure pleasure, triggers the desire to dance and sing among the audience, it conveys the class and the fighting spirit of modern performers, such as the blueswoman Pietra Montercorvino – who are never promoted enough.
As is clear now, there is no plot, or better, the plot is forged on the basis of Turturro"s audiovisual adventures among the alleys, squares, and churches where the «genius loci» dresses up as angel and demon, disperses treasures of tradition and finds back reservoirs of modernity, fades away in degradation and is born again with a jeering sneer or a nostalgic tear. It is, therefore, absolutely not advisable to quote «Carosello napoletano», which remains unique in terms of its insurmountable harmony of singing, acting and dancing unfolding on the whole historical profile of the city. In the case of Passione, instead, one thing emerges: the popular instinctiveness, of the indomitable dynamism of Viviani antithetical to Eduardo, of the strongly contemporary ethnic-sound cross-breed, of the diving both in flesh and feelings in the daily hyperrealism which risks, pour cause, oleography and complacency. The series of performances, a swirling series of episodes, sketches, flashes cannot but be perceived in this way: the disenchantment and even anger of those, scholars and consumers, who will find they miss a melody or a name.
A phenomenon - with Roberto Murolo and Peppino Di Capri in the mass of great desaparecidos – which is more than legitimate but which will deal with the non-philological approach of «Giuà» Turturro & Co. The same which blows the screen with «Comme facette mammeta» sung by the sandpaper voice of Montecorvino and choreographed by captivating hip hop dancers in "Palazzo dello Spagnuolo"; it becomes clumsy when it stages the useless act of "Malafemmina"; is enhanced with «Tammurriata nera» by Peppe Barra and makes cute fun of itself with «Don Raffaé» by the same singer from Procida. It hints at the incomparable qualities of the primadonna Angela Luce in black and white ancient style and suddenly stops, almost surprised, to perceive Cigliano"s whisper in the shadow of Caravaggio"s paintings or the heartbreaking dialogue of the Superman Senese with his sax; chases «Nun te scurdà» on Raiz"s lost steps or of the exciting M'Barka BenTaleb and spurs Fiorello and Max Casella to keep up with her while it brings Caruso"s humour of "Caravan Petrol" to extremes at the Solfatara (as if wandering in one of the Coen Brothers" nonsense meanderings).