‘Passione’ is a new movie by John Turtuffo, one of our great actors, who also has a great passion for Naples or Napoli in southern Italy on the Mediterranean, and its music. We see everybody singing, lots of beat up walls, some classic art and unique architecture, very expressive enactments of songs, plenty of history, people digging out of a 1944 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, but mostly all sorts of music. And some fantastic dancing, especially one piece framed in a four story building with a central archway and a dancer per balcony, 3 to each floor. I think
all beautiful women – can’t recall any man on one of those balconies.
The title connects to the jazz song ‘Passione’ played by James Senese’s band, Mr. Senese on saxophone. He speaks about being black in Italy, and the prejudice he had to go through, as there weren’t too many black folks in Italy until after the USA invaded the land of Mussolini and overthrew the Fascists at the end of World war 2. You can see how happy a lot of Italians were to see the Americans rid them of Mussolini. Remember, they hung the mug-chinned dictator by a lightpost in the streets when the people had the opportunity to do so.
Mr. Senese explains that his father was a black soldier from North Carolina, and his mother was a Neopolitan (which means she came from Napoli or Naples).
Five men from the band Avion Travel perform in a building-framed square, then are asked who the best singer was from Napoli. Three of the five say Sergio Bruni. Then the middle person of the five sings one of his most famous songs, to the joy of the others. Then Turtuffo provides us with some footage of
the man himself on black and white film, dressed in suit and tie, with a lovely voice and a big Italian schnozzola, with a unique flute soloist interacting with Mr. Bruni on the tune provided.
Riaz, of mixed descent, does a great reggae tune, very MTV, shot in the poor streets of Napoli, with beautiful women walking
throughout the filming, including going thru this one tiny door cut out of a temporary steel wall in a building that is being renovated – which is so typical for Italy and most of Europe.
If you love music and Italy, go see this one. It’s playing one more night in Westhampton at the Performing Arts Theatre, Thursday August 11, 2011, where Wynonna Judd arrives and plays on August 13. The fantastic ‘Incendies’ will be in the Theater midweek, next week. French, terrific plot/story, but yes
quite heavy. I highly recommend that one too.