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Napoli Velata

Ferzan Ozpetek‘s mystery thriller about an amour fou, a mysterious murder case, and a pair of twins is chiefly a homage to Naples.


It begins with a dinner. Director Ferzan Özpetek ( HAMAM, MÄNNER AL DENTE) was invited over by a good friend and met a woman there he got along with very well and flirted with till she said “oh god, I have to leave, I have to wake up early because I have to dissect a corpse early in the morning.“ At the Munich Film Festival Özpetek spoke about imagining what she would think if she found him on the examination table the next morning. Six years later, after staying in Naples for several months, the little morbid fantasy became the starting point of the mystery thriller NAPOLI VELATA. Forensic pathologist Adriana (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) meets a young man at a party one evening. They keep looking at each other and spend a passionate night together. The next day, a Sunday, Andrea (Alessandro Borghi) doesn‘t come to their date and a new corpse is delivered to Adriana on Monday. The face is mutilated, but Adriana recognises Andrea by his tattoo.

Adriana is more distraught over this than a one night stand would suggest. The search for the killers and the reason for the murder leads to a dark Naples with narrow alleys, baroque palazzos, erotic antiquities, and an upper class demimonde where family secrets and high culture flourish and look like a European version of Roman Polanski‘s satanists from ROSEMARY‘S BABY from afar. When Adriana sees Andrea in a shadow, the criminal case interweaves a psychological, twinning story revolving around trauma, suppression, and processing. Özpetek set the story in Naples and the city itself is like a protagonist. “Naples is a city with 1000 faces. You have to keep in mind that Naples is located on the foot of Vesuvius, meaning the relationship to the underworld and death is geographically embedded in the city, and you can feel that. But you can‘t forget that it‘s a city of the sun. Unfortunately most people immediately think of the mafia and gomorrah, and I wanted to show them the Naples that I experienced when I lived here for two and a half months.“

Özpetek, who says of himself that he has a “mania for sharing,“ is motivated by sharing experiences with other people. He filmed with friends and in friends apartments, in places that he discovered for himself, and was open to surprises during the shoot. The group of blind people that Adriana encounters weren‘t planned, for example. They were just walking in Naples and because they fit so well with the eye motif that pervades the film, he incorporated them in the film. If this openness to coincidences clouds the stringency of the crime plot and leads viewers to the wrong track, he‘s fine with that. Veils also serve as a favorite motif. It‘s also what gave the film its name. NAPOLI VELATA is a play on the famous marble sculpture “Cristo velato“ by Giuseppe Sammartino in the Cappela Sansevero showing Christ under a transparent viel that is more revealing than concealing. Legend has it that the artist‘s eyes were removed after making it so he wouldn‘t be able to make a copy of the masterpiece.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Napoli Velata
Italien 2017, 113 min
Language: Italian
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama
Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Author: Ferzan Ozpetek, Valia Santella, Gianni Romoli
DOP: Gianfilippo Corticelli
Montage: Leonardo Alberto Moschetta
Music: Pasquale Catalano
Distributor: Prokino
Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Alessandro Borghi, Anna Bonaiuto, Isabella Ferrari
FSK: 12
Release: 16.08.2018


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