|THE REIGN OF NAPLES (NEAPOLITANISCHE GESCHICHTEN) (NEL REGNO DI NAPOLI) (director/writer: Werner Schroeter; screenwriters: story by Werner Schroeter/ Wolf Wondratschek/Gerardo D'Andrea; cinematographer: Thomas Mauch; editors: Ursula West-Messinger/Werner Schroeter; music: Roberto Pregadio; cast: Liana Trouche (Valeria Cavioli-Simonetti), Antonio Orlando (Massimo Pagano), Renata Zamengo (Mother Pagano), Dino Mele (Father Pagano), Cristina Donadio (Vittoria Pagano), Raúl Gimenez (Simonetti), Ida Di Benedetto (Ferrante), Maria Antonietta Riegel (Vittoria Pagano, as a teenager), Tiziana Ambretti (Vittoria Pagano, as a child), Romeo Giro (Massimo as a child), Laura Sodano (Rosa), Margareth Clementi (Rosaria), Percy Hogan (Black American Sailor); Runtime: 125; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Christolph Hetch; Film Musuem/PAL format; 1978-Italy/West Germany-in Italian with English subtitles)|
|"It makes for
a riveting but strange film experience."
by Dennis Schwartz
artistic writer-director Werner Schroeter ("Salome"/"Malina"/"The
Rose King") gives us a personal history lesson on
Naples spanning the war years until the early 1970s.
It follows the everyday existence of a dysfunctional
and impoverished family from Naples and a few of their
neighbors. It tells us the poverty in post-war Naples
was crushing and how difficult it was to grow up in
the slum and keep one's dignity without starving.
focus of the film is on the brother and sister of the
Pagano family, who are growing up in a slum. The
younger Massimo follows the path of the Communist
Party and remains a member even as he finds it's not
all that it seems. His protective older sister
Vittoria tries to be a nun, but her widowed dad won't
allow it. Vittoria later becomes an
admirer of President Kennedy in the early 60's, and
when getting a factory job learns the hard way that
her best chance for survival is through education.
Vittoria eventually becomes an airline stewardess, and
removes herself from her family's circle of poverty.
characters followed are a pathetic French
prostitute; the Spanish War veteran who becomes the
slum's local C.P. leader, and his pragmatic wife,
who buys rationed goods on the black market; the
betrayer bourgeois attorney who uses his
working-class neighbors and sells them out for his
own selfish needs ; and the evil heiress/factory
boss lady (Ida Di Benedetto) who tried to turn
Vittoria into a prostitute.
The political melodrama follows a timeline and uses inter-titles of the year we are now following to note the beginning of a new chapter, which follows a blackout. Because of its lush visuals, grand opera style of shooting and the intensity of its story, it makes for a riveting but strange film experience.
REVIEWED ON 4/16/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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