In the documentary film 'Passione - A Musical Adventure', Italian-American actor and director John Turturro presents a musical journey through Napoli, one of the biggest jukeboxes in the world with a treasure chest of songs from the 1200s to present day.
The film's twenty three songs are a testament to the multicultural melting-potness of the city featuring Greek, Arab, French, Spanish, Norman, and American influences. Eight centuries echo in the aqueducts in 'Canto Delle Lavandaie' ('Washerwomen's Song'). In 'Tammuriata Nera,' WWII is relived as Al Dexter's twang collides with the primal roar of Peppe Barra. 'O Sole Mio' is a blend of goldenage television performances and the North African vibe, and 'Malafemmena' is portrayed for the first time in all its irony, in the context of its very inspiration. The song 'Vesuvio' is performed only as it can be by those who live at the foot of the volcano bearing that name.
In Naples, life, death, hunger, and brutality are ever present, but a solitary voice on the street can cause an entire intersection to break out into song. Passione is Turturro's celebration of that. With the aid of journalist Federico Vaccalabre, cinematographer Marco Pontecorvo, and editor Simona Paggi, along with the resourceful crew of Neapolitans, he has let the film come directly out of the people, the walls that surround them, and the land they inhabit, and invited us all to join in the song.
Turturro describes Passione as 'a musical adventure that comes directly out of the people and the volcanic land they inhabit. Conjuring ancient stories and myths that still live — of love, sex, jealousy, and social protest — each song is a small screenplay, an emotional postcard. I tried to see if I could understand in a small way, a little bit of the soul of the city, while at the same time killing clichés about it. There are places you go and once is enough. Then, there's Napoli.'
Watch clips from the film and an interview with director John Turturro (in English) below.