Directed by Francesco Patierno • Documentary • With Benedict Cumberbatch • 2016 • 85 minutes
In 1943 a young British officer, Norman Lewis, entered a war-torn Naples with the American Fifth Army. Lewis began writing in his notepad everything that happened to him during his one-year stay observing the complex social cauldron of a city that contrived every day the most incredible ways of fighting to survive. These notes turned into the masterpiece NAPLES ‘44. This film adaptation imagines Lewis returning to the city that charmed and seduced him many years later. This visionary reminiscence is made up of flashbacks between the places of the present that Lewis revisits and the stories of the past. We will see in eighty minutes a thrilling and unpredictable parade of absolutely unforgettable stories and characters: women in feather hats milking cows in the rubble, statues of saints carried by hysterical crowds attempting to stop Vesuvius erupting and impoverished professionals surviving by impersonating aristocratic uncles from Rome at funerals and weddings. But NAPLES ‘44 is also – and perhaps above all - a powerful condemnation of the horrors of war, whether just or unjust.