The Godfather? A soap opera. The real blood flows in Gomorrah

Ciro (Marco D'Amore) and Conte (Marco Palvetti). Photo: Emanuela Scarpa

“There are moments you remember for your whole life”, writes The Guardian, “your first day at school; your child’s first steps; the climax of the first series of Gomorrah”.

Set in Scampia (Naples), the second series of Gomorrah was broadcast on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday 10th May and has brought its fans to fever pitch, eager to watch the vicissitudes of Don Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino), one of the most feared and respected mob bosses in the region, of his son Genny (Salvatore Esposito) and his fellow and later his rival Ciro (Marco D’Amore).

Gomorrah, based on Roberto Saviano’s 2006 real-life tell-all book about Camorra, the Neapolitan crime syndicate, has been sold to more than 30 countries, including the US – the first time an Italian show has had such access to the American market.

There are no doubts on what is the key of its success. The Guardian said “the adrenaline-charged crescendo of plot shocks and gratuitous killing made The Godfather looks like Gilbert and Sullivan”.

The credit goes to the outstanding performance of the two main actors, Salvatore Esposito and Marco D’Amore, but also to the setting, that portrays the mafia in a very different way from from previous series such as The Sopranos.

Gomorrah shows street-level crime and its hierarchical organization from the bottom up to the office chair, describing both external and internal power struggles between culprits and big criminals, where everyone, including women, has a specific role to play.

It’s a portrait, cruel but real, of their mentality: the big fish eats the small one. This helps the first to become more and more powerful.

All is about controlling the territory and extending their businesses across Europe. Not only drugs trafficking, but a massive corruption in all the offices or selling votes for a candidate rather than another. Everything is swept under the carpet, with the complicity of a couple of bosses.

During a recent interview, Roberto Saviano admitted he would have wished to tear the book up. Since its publication and due to the death threatens he has been living under police protection and in hiding for the last decade. How would it have ended up, if he did? Maybe we would still think about camorra as a result of our imagination.



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