Little Africa on Camorra land
by Vittoria Scarpa
- A shocking film about African immigrants in Camorra territory near Naples. Lion of the Future in Venice.
"Là-bas", over there, is how Africans refer to Europe. It means far away, somewhere else, where their relatives and friends go in the hope of finding a better life, an opportunity. One of the main destinations is Castel Volturno, about thirty kilometers from Naples, the “most African European city”, as Roberto Saviano would put it. Twenty thousand immigrants, of which half are clandestine. It was there that, on September 18, 2008, six young black boys were killed, randomly, by a Camorra commando: a warning to make it clear who ruled the area.
Là-bas [+see also:
interview: Guido Lombardi
film profile], first work by Neapolitan film-maker Guido Lombardi, in competition at the
But since the criminal life is one also shared by many different joints, sometimes the peace held on the basis of the division of business and in some cases on the immigrants’ payment of “protection money” to the Camorra, can suddenly be broken. And those who will suffer are innocent people, exactly those who had chosen, in spite of everything, to continue to sell tissues and to lead a simple life, bound to their own traditions, and yet have found themselves on the site of a massacre at the wrong time.
Là-bas is an honest cross-section of a hushed reality, that of many immigrants with good intentions who turn to crime for lack of alternatives, the portrait of a desperate humanity that tries to get by. It’s a film played by amateur actors (the only professional is the beautiful Esther Elisha, forced into prostitution in the film), based on the stories of the penitents and of those who survived the massacre of Castel Volturno, as well as on the personal experience of Lombardi, with his past as official cameraman at African parties in the discos of Caserta’s hinterland.
Produced by Eskimo, Figli del Bronx and Minerva Pictures Group, in collaboration with the Campania Region and Rai Cinema, Là-bas "Is not an easy film, with no well-known cast, spoken for the most part in French and English”, aimits one of the producers, Gaetano di Vaio. "We are very much counting on foreign distribution”.
(Translated from Italian)