in the shadow of death

The rather hunksome Roberto Saviano

About three years ago, I went to see the absolutely amazing Italian film Gomorrah.  Rather naively, I thought it was ‘just a film’.  A rather brilliant film, but that was it.  Little did I realise that it was based on the book of the same name by Roberto Saviano, which had been a worldwide sensation, revealing the shady goings-on of the southern Italy ‘Mafia’ the Camorra.

Knowing that the film had been based on truth would make me see it in a very different light, so I now have both the book and the film to consume at my leisure.

Anyway, last week, I went to see a documentary that has been made about Roberto Saviano as he has been in hiding since his book’s release in 2006 as the Camorra have put a price on his life.

The hour-long documentary showed an Italy that I didn’t recognise at all  it was all a bit shocking.  And apparently the reach of these organised crime rings isn’t restricted to Italy, but across the globe…including (in some weird way) Scotland!

It was a bit weird to see how this young, attractive guy is living a lonely existence, punctuated with making public appearances where his audience treat him like some kind of rock star, queuing for hours to see him speak.  Which is also a bit odd in itself – if his life is under threat, why make foreclosed public appearances.

However, a lot of this was explained in the film, and also in the discussion afterwards whch was led by one of the event organisers, together with the film’s director Elisa Mantin, Iranian Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari (author of ‘Then They Came For Me‘ who was arrested and imprisoned during Iran’s 2009 elections and Jon Foot who I am very embarassed to say I had no idea who he was, but apparently is very well-versed in Italian politics and underworld etc.

It was a brilliant discussion, a thought-provoking documentary and has inspired me to buy Gomorrah (the film) to watch again in a new light, and Gomorrah (the book) to see what caused all the fuss in the first place!


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