The Italian Almanac



Italy's candidate for next year's Foreign Film Oscar, Matteo Garrone's hard-hitting Naples Mob expose Gomorrah, earned applause from an audience in Hollywood. The movie, adapted from Roberto Saviano's worldwide bestseller on the Camorra crime syndicate, was shown at the Hollywood Boulevard landmark Egyptian Theater to an audience including Oliver Stone, Paul Mazursky and many other members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy is set to vote a 'long list' of nine foreign films in a month's time and whittle it down to the five Oscar nominees in late January, a month before the Oscar ceremony.

Garrone and producer Domenico Procacci attended the screening but Saviano, who has been under police protection since his book came out in 2006, couldn't be there. Garrone said Saviano's absence had been caused by a ''lack of coordination'' between Italian and US police. The writer, who is considering leaving Italy because of Camorra threats, sent a message thanking the Academy audience for considering the film. Before the screening Garrone said he was ''curious'' to see the reaction. He said that at previous screenings in other US cities Gomorrah had tended to spur ''surprise'' among Americans who have little or no idea of the extent of Mafia activity in the Naples area.

On Gomorra's prospects of getting an Oscar nomination, Garrone said: ''I'm not getting too excited, I'm taking it as if it were a lottery''. Gomorrah, which won second prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and bagged the best screenplay award at the recent Chicago Film Fest, is seen as the early favourite for the honour.