John Turturro’s PASSIONE On DemandMarch 13, 2012


John Turturro’s PASSIONE On Demand

FilmBuff

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: PASSIONE (FilmBuff).

 

PASSIONE
By Amy Slotnick

 

When first watching John Turturro’s documentary, PASSIONE, the evocative music and expressive performers of Naples, Italy are captivating, tempting you to hop on a flight and immerse yourself in what the filmmakers call a “musical adventure.”


Although choreography, romantic locations, interviews and some onscreen narration from Turturro provide rough outlines of a context for the music, the film suffers from a lack of any narrative. Instead, it relies on the music and staging, mostly in the streets of Naples, to sustain the film on its own.

The musicians, both professional and amateur, perform a total of 23 songs in the film. Through their interviews and performances a relationship between Neapolitan music and its culture emerges, gradually and subtly. The songs take dominance over the story, and consequently there is little driving the pace and story forward. In other words, one could stop watching half way through and not miss any developments or turns.


A brilliant actor who clearly understands how to develop character relationships and narrative threads, as he did with his directorial debut ROMANCE & CIGARETTES, Turturro seems to be consciously asking the audience to let go of any expectations for a documentary about music. Instead of BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB, this film is more neo-realist, concert film.

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