The Italian Almanac

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Abel Ferrara

Abel in Naples

Cult Italian American director Abel Ferrara is making a film inspired by women's jails in Naples using a technique similar to that of Oscar-winning US filmmaker Michael Moore. Ferrara, 56, is best-known for hard-hitting films like Bad Lieutenant (1992) and Mary (2005), his second film shot in Italy and winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes that year. In the documentary-style film, entitled Napoli, Napoli, Napoli, Ferrara said he would be using the freewheeling interview-based technique used by Moore in hits like Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine and Sicko.

"I've always been a great fan of Michael's work and, like him, I don't stop at interviews because I think you also need to create things in order to tell such sensitive stories," Ferrara said. "We've already interviewed a lot of girls who live in jail and now we're writing stories based on the interviews. First and foremost, Napoli, Napoli, Napoli wants to talk about real-life stories and capture the real nature of the city".

Ferrara and his writers had lived in Naples's gritty Spanish Quarter for a few months and it reminded him a lot of the nearby city of Sarno where his family emigrated from. "Naples is a big paradox because on the one hand it makes you feel really frustrated but on the other it gives you the energy to create," he said.