Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Mob drama gets Scorsese backing

Martin Scorsese
Scorsese called Gomorrah "despairing but also enlightening"

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has publicly endorsed an Italian drama about organised crime in Naples.

Gomorrah, based on a bestselling expose of the Camorra clan, will carry the credit "Martin Scorsese Presents" when it opens in the US on 13 February.

Scorsese, 66, praised Matteo Garrone's acclaimed film as "a tough, forceful look at the Neapolitan underworld".

Garrone said he was "extremely proud" that his award-winning drama had found "such a prestigious adoptive father."

Gomorrah, which opened in the UK in October, is Italy's official entry for this year's best foreign language film Oscar.

The fact-based drama won the Grand Prix at last year's Cannes Film Festival and took home five prizes from last month's European Film Awards.

'Bluntness'

Scorsese, director of such acclaimed mob thrillers as GoodFellas and The Departed, said Gomorrah was "despairing but also enlightening and, because of its frankness, strangely heartening".

He added: "I admire the bluntness of this picture and the devotion of Garrone and his actors in their pursuit of a terrible truth."

Garrone said he had been waiting "for some time" to thank Scorsese publicly for his "courage and generosity".

A scene from Gomorrah
Gomorrah will be released on DVD in the UK next month
"Of all directors, he is one of the most important in my development as a film-maker."

Critics have praised Garrone's film for its authenticity, partly achieved by casting real-life Camorra clan members in supporting roles.

One of his non-professional actors, local press have reported, has since been arrested for trying to extract a "pizzo" - mafia tax - from businesses in the Caserte region to the north of Naples.

Giovanni Venosa is the third amateur player from Gomorrah to have fallen foul of the authorities since the film's release.

Salvatore Fabbricino and Bernardino Terracciano, who also play gang members in the picture, were arrested last year for their alleged mafia activities.



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