Sky Atlantic’s Gomorrah is a big hit in Italy

GANG DRAMAS have ruled in recent years. There’s been Peaky Blinders on the Beeb, Mob City on Fox and before that the landmark HBO bruisers The Sopranos and The Wire.

But the Italian drama Gomorrah, based on Roberto Saviano’s 2006 non-fiction book about the Naples underworld (which was also spun off into the 2008 movie by Matteo Garrone), could be one of the most interesting – and hard-hitting – yet.

It’s been a big draw on Sky Italia, where it finished its run earlier this month, and it’s been sold to 50-odd countries, with Sky Atlantic, the Italian network’s sister channel, nabbing it for the UK.

Much of its power is obviously down it being based on real events, filmed in the rougher parts of Naples, and its gritty tone.

Gomorrah‘s killers, dealers and corrupt politicians

Stefano Sollima, who also made the hit series Romanzo Criminale, is responsible for the series’
art direction and directed some episodes. He’s expert at giving his dramas a vérité feel.

Gomorrah, a 12-parter, carries a pungent tang of violence and cynicism as it retells the story of rival factions of the Camorra, the Naples mafia, in the grotty suburb of Scampia 10 years ago. Killers, drug dealers and bent politicians are its dramatis personae. Marco D’Amore plays Ciro, pushy right-hand man of the clan’s godfather, who grabs power when the boss is imprisoned.

The shoot was complicated, involving long negotiations with community activists – but no deals, the makers say, with local mobsters. Scampia is a world away from the fading baroque splendour of Naples, a zone of alienating motorways and crumbling 1960s housing estates.

The greatest Italian crime series is:

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The authenticity included having the largely unknown local cast of actors speaking in thick Neapolitan dialect, which other Italians struggle to make sense of, but which paid off, in that the series was still a ratings success.

Sky Atlantic is certainly delighted to have it. Julia Barry, Channel Director, says, ‘Following on the success of Sky Atlantic’s first bi-lingual drama The Tunnel, we’re thrilled to announce the acquisition of the channel’s first foreign language series. With cinematic scale and a gripping tale of conflict, loyalty and power, Gomorrah is a perfect addition to Sky Atlantic.’

Gomorrah will hit Sky Atlantic in August.

Also check out…

Stefano Sollima talks about Romanzo Criminale
Hollywood Reporter on Gomorrah
Romanzo Criminale — Killer 50

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