Passion Onscreen

According to actor John Turturro, if you sing in the streets of Naples, Italy, someone will join in and sing along. Want to waltz down the piazza? No problem — every passerby is a willing dance partner. But thanks to the 2008 film Gomorrah, the Neapolitan metropolis is better known for its pesky and pervasive mob problem. So Turturro, who played the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink and now dabbles in directing, made Passione, a sort of Buena Vista Social Club of Italy. It’s a tour of Naples’s musical roots and branches, which reach from Italian pop and Tunisian ballads to American jazz. This isn’t a stiff documentary. The musical numbers, performed by sultry sirens such as Portugal’s Mísia and Tunisian-Italian singer M’Barka Ben Taleb, feel like indulgently retro MTV videos. And Turturro captures a playfulness that’s inherent in the city’s musical culture. Consider the Neapolitan classic “Dove Sta Zazà,” about a man looking for his lover. It goes, “Where are you? I need to find you/But if I can’t find you, I will have your sister.” See Passione this Saturday at the Tower Theater
Sat., July 16, 9:15 p.m., 2011


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