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­Mafia money in Cannes winner Garrone's film?

Published time: June 14, 2012 15:10
Edited time: June 14, 2012 19:10
Italian director Matteo Garrone poses during a photocall after being awarded with the Jury Grand Prix for the film Reality during the 65th Cannes film festival on May 27, 2012 in Cannes (AFP Photo/Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Italian director Matteo Garrone poses during a photocall after being awarded with the Jury Grand Prix for the film Reality during the 65th Cannes film festival on May 27, 2012 in Cannes (AFP Photo/Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Italy’s most celebrated modern filmmaker Matteo Garrone is suspected of illegally collaborating with mafia while shooting the 2008 film Gomorrah, winner of the Golden Palm at Cannes.

Focusing on the organized crime world of Naples and on the destinies of people trying to exist alongside the mafia, the movie has been praised as an extremely realistic portrayal. In Italian, the title Gomorra is a play on words, fusing the Biblical city of Gomorrah and the name of the Neopolitan mafia – Camorra.

The filmmaker’s crew however fell under suspicion shortly after Gomorrah was released in 2008. Police arrested three non-professional actors thought to have real-life ties to organized crime.

The movie used real names of locally known criminals, which forced screenplay author Roberto Saviano out of the country as mafia reportedly threatened to kill him.

Police are now looking into how Garrone was able to make such a realistic picture.

Prosecutors in Naples have launched an investigation into whether producers of the prize-winning movie had illegal collaborative ties with local mafia families during filming, the Hollywood Reporter says.  Italian authorities allege that the producers bribed mafia to secure safe shootings of the film. Police are also looking into whether Garrone and the producers were forced to assign Camorra-controlled businesses for movie supplies.

This year, Garrone won another Palm d’Or at Cannes with Reality. The film stars Aniello Arena, who has spent two decades behind bars to date and is to stay there for the rest of his life. The nature of his crime wasn’t disclosed, yet as many speculate, it is unlikely to be petty theft.

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