Take Five, the "spaghetti gangster" by Guido Lombardi
by Vittoria Scarpa
- The director of Là-bas confirms his talent with a second film about five men carrying out a million euro robbery operation. Among the actors, Peppe Lanzetta and Salvatore Striano
Originally, the film was going to be made in coproduction with France and potential names for the main roles included that of Gérard Depardieu. In the end, the production remained entirely Italian and the cast local to Naples, making it a very regional film. It is hard to imagine a more adapted cast for Take Five [+see also:
film profile], Guido Lombardi’s (Là-bas - Educazione criminale [+see also:
interview: Guido Lombardi
film profile], winner of Critics’ Week and the Lion of the Future in 2011 in Venice – read the review) second film, applauded at the 8th International Rome Film Festival, in competition. Peppe Lanzetta, Salvatore Striano, Salvatore Ruocco, Carmine Paternoster and Gaetano di Vaio give life and colour to an improvised band of robbers in a film far from realistic or documentary style, which is generally how the camorra is told in cinema (see Gomorra [+see also:
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile] or Gorbaciof [+see also:
interview: Stefano Incerti
film profile]). It lightly mixes gangster movie with dark comedy, Reservoir Dogs by Tarantino meets Rope by Hitchcock, Big Deal on Madonna Street with The Big Kahuna.
"Spaghetti gangster,” is how the director, who also wrote the screenplay, defined it. Carmine (Paternoster, seen in Gomorra and The Interval [+see also:
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
film profile]) is an indebted plumber addicted to gambling, who comes up with an idea for a million euro robbery while he is visiting his local bank. He speaks about it with Gaetano (Di Vaio, also a producer of the film), a receiver of stolen goods who has spent a few years in prison. In turn, Gaetano involves his nephew Ruocco, a former boxer who has been banned from the sport for life (just like Ruocco, who plays the part), Sasà (Striano, also seen in Caesar Must Die), a former cat burglar who is now a wedding photographer, and 'O Sciomèn (or showman), a legendary gangster who is depressed, played by Lanzetta. Instantly, it is made evident that the five have very little in common, except for the motivation to get rich. The initial diffidence transforms into a true challenge, when once the robbery is completed, Gaetano disappears with all the money. The four others wait for Gaetano to return after the robbery, and as he does not, tension mounts.
Among the actors, three out of five have an actual criminal past. This gives their onscreen adventures more authenticity and an internal perspective. The characters are well formed and the locations are suggestive (the old aqueduct that exists under the city of Naples) and moments of pure comedy abound – including one when the five count the amount of years they have collectively spent in jail as they are having a shower. The fantastical tone and actions of the first part give way to the waiting of the second. Suspense and psychological challenge combine to make the film progressively into a massacre game, to the sound of a sophisticated soundtrack, where jazz dominates (Take Fiveis the notable title by Dave Brubeck). The typical Naples traits of the characters are brought to life in all their vitality, with an underground strain of madness and melancholy verging on self-destruction. As good as he is, Depardieu would not have been the same.
Produced by Figli del Bronx, Minerva Pictures and Eskimo (the same team behind Là-bas) with RaiCinema and support from MiBAC, the film is still undergoing talks for cinema distribution. An award in Rome (which seems deserved to us) could help.
(Translated from Italian)
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