In a year in which Italian Box Office has suffered a 4 year low-point, decrying the absence of a vehicle from Ceccho Zalone, a national popular comedian who actually manages to pull of some pretty poignant social satire, it is no surprise that the intricate psychological drama offered by the masterful Ferzan Ozpetek, would be marketed on the strength of a 10 minute opening sequence, featuring a raw and passionate sexual encounter.
Anybody heading to the the theatre hoping for a bunga bonanza, will be sorely disappointed. Marketers and journalists alike, are doing the movie, the director, the cast, producers, and audience, a huge disservice. Take note corriera della sera and others.
Ferzan Ozpetek is one of the smartest directors working today, and "Napoli Velata", is a treat for those with the patience and curosity to climb aboard, and simply enjoy the ride.
One of the cast commented that Ozpetek lived the experience of Napoli as a city, as "offering questions but very few answers". Such is life, and such is this film.
A thriller, a fantasy and a slice of life, which takes place in a mysterious but powerfully charged city, lush sets and back-drops, populated by larger than life characters, and shot with the intoxicating lighting skills of Gian Filippo Corticelli. Surely one of the best cinematographers around at the moment.
I've heard comments that the film lacks pace and drifts in part, but I personally reject this accusation, rather complimenting the Director for resisting the temptation to ramp up tension with staccato music and chases down dimly lit, foggy streets. The tension is there, if you stick with the development of Giovanna Mezzogiorno's enigmatic character, Adriana.
The story twists and turns through the streets and parlours of a Napoli steeped in contrasts, magic and superstition, madness and sense, constantly asking the viewer, but never actually answering: guilty or innocent ? blind or sighted ? gay or straight ? reality or imagination ?
What I perceived to have been overcooking it in the performance of Alessandro Borghi, the co-protagonist, is within the regime of the narrative, probabl acceptable; Ferzan Ozpetek measures most things to near perfection, and so it is on this occasion. A feast for the eyes and for the mind.