The northern Neapolitan suburb of Scampia is notorious for its drug wars, clan battles and ever-growing casualty list. However, the long-suffering area was at the center of a different kind of conflict at the weekend after a war of words erupted between its local politicians and Italy’s most prominent anti-Mafia campaigner over the filming of a follow-up television series to the 2008 hit film Gomorrah.
In what he said was an attempt to protect the area and its inhabitants from disproportionately bad publicity, Scampia council boss Angelo Pisani will not allow cameras into the neighborhood for the making of the upcoming drama, which is to be called Gomorrah after Roberto Saviano’s expose of the Neapolitan underworld, which spawned Matteo Garrone’s film.
“It is time to say enough of the exploitative use of Naples and this area in particular,” Pisani told the Corriere del Mezzogiorno. “The constant exaggeration — only of the negative things, which exist, it cannot be denied — solves nothing; on the contrary, it worsens the problems and confirms the stigma.”
Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris, said that while he played no part in Pisani’s decision, he supported it.
“We are tired of seeing Scampia reduced ... to a place of conquest for the warring Camorra, as if nothing else existed in Scampia beyond the drug-pushing and the feuding clans,” he said, likening the Gomorrah effect on the local area to a “negative media brand” which had left locals “exasperated.”
However, to Saviano, the Naples-born writer and scourge of the Camorra, this smacked of little more than “pure, sly censorship” aimed at deflecting attention from the problems of Scampia and politicians’ inability to solve them.
“How can you want to block the recounting of the contradictions of a place which, actually, should be at the forefront of national interest every day?” he wrote in a savage column for La Repubblica.
Saviano, who has played a supervisory role in the 12-part series, accused local politicians of “shifting attention from the problem to the recounting of the problem.”
Filming for the television series is set to begin within weeks. Saviano’s book, published in 2006, and Garrone’s film were credited with exposing the work of the powerful Neapolitan Mafia to the world.