Run time: 118 mins
The warm glow of nostalgia has never looked grittier, or more treacherous, than it does in Mario Martone’s eponymous depiction of crime and longing.
After forty years abroad, Felice returns to his native Naples a stranger in a familiar land. Not much has changed from the streets of his youth except for Felice himself. As he wanders through the old neighbourhood, 8mm flashbacks that grow in length throughout introduce Oreste, Felice’s childhood blood brother who stayed behind while Felice left; becoming a very different, and dangerous man, altogether. Despite all warnings, Felice is desperate to find him.
The Traitor star Pierfrancesco Favino’s terrific lead performance is laced with a peculiar kind of yearning for the past in a place where little has changed for hundreds of years. Committed to showing Naples in a less-forgiving light, Martone paints Felice’s birthplace as a city that depends, even thrives, on criminal codes. Residents watch the streets from their windows, closing the shutters when the comings and goings become too dangerous to witness. Moments later they reopen them. Here, crime is at once expressive and pedestrian. It’s the way of life.
Nominated for the Palme dOr and also this years’ Italian Oscar entry, this is a truly absorbing slice of another world just beneath the city’s surface