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Music from and inspired by

 

The town of Marcianise, despite having a population of 40,000 people, provided half of the members of Italy’s Olympic boxing squad. To the head coach at one of the town’s gyms, this wasn’t a particularly confusing state of affairs: “The Neapolitan is born with a great desire to be in punch-ups so we have a very easy task.” The movie Gomorra, which I strongly suggest you go and see ASAP, serves as a pretty dead on tribute to the rage that lies within the average inhabitant of Naples, partly because it is now the biggest slum in western Europe, partly because the town’s grass soil is now toxic due to waste disposal crimes (meaning that 10% of all mozzarella produced in Italy these days is technically poisonous and unfit for human consumption), partly because they’re just very short.

I’m not a film writer, unlike certain guys on the blogroll over there I don’t have the vocab for it. However, I will say that you’re selling Gomorra short by just pegging it as a “City of God for the Mezzogiorno”. It’s got the same “buckwilding kids on a slum” mentality as Lil Ze’s highlight reel, but Gomorra operates at a much higher level, if not in film making in plot: these aren’t hoodlums or stick-up kids, they’re sophisticated, politicking gangsters who make life a misery not just for the guys that they pistol whip, but for the community, town, and country as a whole.

But that’s not why we’re writing here. The soundtrack to Gomorra is perfect, it’s the kind of music that transports you to the average teenage night out in southern Italy instantly, to the point where I left the cinema with an innate desire to buy a diamond earring and a skintight wifebeater. To be worn with stonewashed jeans. There’s corny balladry, there’s hard trance, there’s Europop, there’s the kind of music these characters would listen to, would encounter during the course of slanging yay and gazing lovingly at the Napoli Cannavaro shirts on the office walls (a nice touch that).

Compare this to another film plugged heavily in the literature that was thrust into my hands upon leaving the cinema:  Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Now, I know you’re all looking forward to this flick immensely, especially because you dig the great range of acting styles Michael Cera brings to the table. Who doesn’t love to look at his anaemic skin, MDMA eyeballs, Junior Spesh chicken breast torso, and fantastic ability to nod with every fucking sentence? Fools, that’s who. But NaNIP is a movie sold on its soundtrack: it’s got Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses, Modest Mouse and, I dunno, whoever else it is the kids are listening to these days. The Datsuns or something.

Does this film have a good plot? Who cares, you can listen to some songs you already have on your fucking iPod, surrounded by 120 minutes of DeviantArt-poetry level dialogue, in a seat covered with boiled sweets, spilled Coke, and spunk, and you get to spend £10.50 for the privilege. Fantastic.

It’s not just that these movies seem to care zero for having any replay value after, say, four months from their release (the idea that the teenagers of 2022 are going to be crate-digging for MGMT is a non-starter). No, it’s just that these songs don’t really mean anything to the movie. You could take every song here out and replace them with “Lucas With The Lid Off” and “Beds Are Burning”, and while it’d lose that all important INDIE CRED, it wouldn’t have any effect to the plot, pacing, or feel of the movie. Cross-reference with Junoor Garden State or whatever, it’s exactly the same. Whereas when you’re cruising around the streets of Scampia with a life-expectancy of 26 and a PPK tucked under your flower-print short sleeve shirt, it’s really hard trance or nothing.

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  1. Ezra Koenig
    October 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    HKM reportedly “not a fan” of the movie Gomorra.

  2. Dom Passantino
    October 12, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    The original version had a scene in it where Seth Rogen riffed on the similarities and differences between “awesome hot pussy” and the performance of John Goodman in cult movie The Big Lebowski. He’s probably just annoyed they cut that.

  3. Ezra Koenig
    October 12, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I can see how that would prove upsetting. Also, the decision not to set it in the nineteen nineties could have been another factor.

  1. November 18, 2008 at 1:16 am

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