Aniello Arena was convicted of gunning down three thugs rival Naples in 1991. In prison, he found a new life through action - and got rave reviews at Cannes starring in a reality TV comedy
That the duel begins. The bell of the cathedral has affected 10 per night the trial is set to begin in earnest, after a lot of work on the set of movable panels that are an extension, the script annotated century 17 Romeo and Juliet
Italian. Tybalt Mercuzio and draw swords with the agility of wild cats, move from one position to another, swords clash, stab and retirement. Finally, the actor playing ponytail Mercuzio - Armando Punzo, agile for its fifty years -. Collapses against a rear wall Outside, the empty streets, narrow cobblestone are fairly quiet in the beautiful Tuscan town of Volterra hill - a stillness that resonate through the steps of the stone fort old. This place feels as old as the world itself: the Etruscans were here, there is a Roman amphitheater and the Medici made his mark with indelible inimitable force, which becomes a prison. The prison is still the entrance ramp test against the beautiful building - and then only
Because there are specifics to what happens here in this case highly unusual. Firstly, this version of Shakespeare's masterpiece, located in Italy, is an adaptation of Punzo, entitledMercuzio
not die . Ni. Second, most of the actors in this production are prisoners, "company strength" Punzo was created 25 years ago with the express purpose of working with prisoners all the way, and direct training to perform the prison city and even on tour.
Perhaps unknown - by the British or American public, perhaps - is the fact that it happens at all. It is not normal in Italy, but it is Punzo do something unique. There has been a lot of publicity for a film by the Taviani brothers famous Italian film with prisoners in prison in Rome famous tomb Rebbibia called Caesar Must Die , where inmates recreate scenes Julius Caesar
. Some have hailed this as the imagination and intelligent "rehabilitation" of offenders, while more than one column of a newspaper booed succeed in movies these days, it is necessary to commit a crime.
But Punzo has attracted more attention and different. The character playing Tybalt, with an amazing ability and an extraordinary range of facial expressions on stage and off, Aniello Arena is no normal player. Arena, 44, is serving a life sentence without parole for a crime that the Italians call Strage - literally "outrage" but it means "slaughter". Arena was convicted of being an assassin hired to Nemolato clan of the Neapolitan Camorra, the organized crime syndicate, and was imprisoned for murdering the three members of a rival gang who tried to push the drug in a field his clan. in the test arena admitted involvement in criminal activities, but insisted he was innocent of the murders.
stranger still mastering Arena during his life as a prisoner has been recognized at the highest level: featuring a gem of a film that won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2012, which also closely We lost the best actor proclaimed. It has been compared to De Niro and Pacino. Film and superlative performance fall Arena in the best traditions of realism and convince more Italian and Neapolitan tragi-comedy, entitled Reality
, the film explores the aspirations toxic nation addicted to see
television, and the impact of reality in real life people, but opens in the UK next month addict like
is the work of Italian filmmaker most compelling moment: Matteo Garrone, whose relentless cinematic representation Comorra
Gomorrah was one of the best films made over recent years. Arena Garrone wanted to play a role in
- as an assassin hired, of course - but the Parole Board ruled this out of bounds. Now, however, the time has come Arena.
it happens, I was there at the scene of the murder in January 1991, living mostly in Naples and the Camorra to reports
Guardian . These were years of radical change in Italy no less, in the world of crime and their associations in power for years to Naples is known as
sorpasso - the old guard, the Sicilian Cosa Nostra, the Camorra is flanked by more adventurous with their openings face crucial and partnerships with Pablo Escobar Medellin cocaine cartel. The year after the murders of Naples, in 1992, unions Sicily would skip two anti-mafia judges, actions misinterpreted as signs of strength. Camorra - the oldest in Italy mafia organization, dating back to the Spanish rule in Naples - saw and seized the day. Visible, the Camorra famous adopted - or trapped - Diego Maradona (who played for Napoli at its peak) and its mascot, and the victim consequently, make friends with the genius before, moving in their business - and to provide women and drugs
accustomed to violent crime in the days, the events of January 1991 were hard to forget. There was Crocelle bar, corner bar in Naples, curly and strafed by 40 strokes of 7.65 caliber pistols and a Kalashnikov rifle. Three dead and two wounded, one of whom was beaten with a nine year old child for rebounds. Two of the shooting left the bar, where he had apparently been playing cards, and we have fallen, leaving a trail of blood on a street called Via Mastelloni, where he collapsed dead. The attack had been members and supporters of the family Liberti, who tried to sell drugs on the lawn Nemolato to Barra, where he grew Arena.
"My father made and sold donuts in the street," Arena told me during a conversation with a delicious lunch in a restaurant with the prisoner and theater company. "It was good in what he does, everyone loved, but we were a poor family -. Y grew up, where we did, we did If you were born in a suburb of the city criminal, so sometimes if I had you go. do, this is what had to be Or so I think -. now, I tell young
to do what I did. " Arena Neapolitan dialect spoken in a wide, from the back of the throat, and truncates each word with a descending or sighed buzz - is famous unique, like crude scouse "I moved to the prison of Volterra in 1999," said Arena, "after having been in prison for a dozen people through the system and including the worst. I had heard of .. strength of the company, but I was not aware that this person did not understand - and I did what I had done I thought Naples was in the world, and that the theater was to others outside the Neapolitan theater. - Of course, we all knew that Toto. "Toto was a legend in the town of Vesuvius - a comic genius. Poignant and mysterious
"I've done this [the inmates of the prison of Volterra] 25 years," said Punzo, nationally known former actor. "I do not want to work with professional actors and their vices. Am interested in working with real people, instead of wearing masks. "
"saw one of his productions," says Arena "with prisoners of performance, in jail. I was stunned. What is it? Thought. Even then, however, I could not it was an idiot like me. took me a long, long time. 'm an idiot, a criminal. "Who wants to see a criminal in a scenario? Never imagined that I would be involved in something like that. But I asked," What will you do if you do this? "Arena
applied for a role in a production of Brecht Threepenny Opera Punzo worked. "There is an improvised version of Armando monologue," he said. "But I was terrified. I missed dinner and hid in the closet of clothes." It's not you, "I dije -. '. Are an asshole on the outskirts of Naples, and you can not do that" But Armando took my hand and led me into the rehearsal room, I' I did my monologue, and he liked that was in production when I realized ..!. 'And damn right it is here that we encounter in the group we face, we face what we did and it was this: my past life no longer exists once again, I'm not that person more .. "
Arena, Punzo and his wife Cinzia are two Neapolitan - as a cabal of Vesuvius in the Tuscan village. Punzo not even born in a building for the entry of players in the San Paolo stadium in Naples. There is a framed photo of Maradona in the office of the theater company. This is fortuitous, unexpected, but there is a strong tradition of theater in Naples, and in this context, subverts things Jester comic surrealism, theater merges with Tot? Pinocchio and the famous Neapolitan figure
. It stems in part from the spiritual city and intangible mercurial, rich in symbolism, hidden meanings, numerology, syncretism between Catholicism and magic, between light and shadow scintillescent deep - and the cult of death. During the first Napoli won the Serie A championship with Maradona in 1987, graffiti appeared on a wall of the cemetery: "You do not know what was lost." Next day, someone painted an answer: "How do you if we missed? "
This dramatic atmosphere in turn generates a theater of daily life, such as movies Garrone clearly illustrated. The world is a stage Napolitano: "Everything is a Naples theater," said Arena. "The way we live, the way they talk and move." In this spirit, I see recordings of some rooms in which he acted when Garrone Arena - Punzo close friend - came to Volterra to see for himself the work with prisoners. This invention is, in the end, but remain firmly in the heritage of this magical surrealism Neapolitan dominated by tragic clown. "I'm not from the neo-realist," says Punzo. "I'm not interested in emulating reality, like many others I admire. Currently, when everything seems completely useless, I'm not interested in mundane reality, but surrealism. Am interested in how to free ourselves from this situation. Aniello banal reality is a prisoner at the end of a prison that we all share -. am interested to transcend this reality "
Punzo is an adaptation that weaves Hamlet
with Alice in Wonderland , and in which the characters of Shakespeare are released into the world of Lewis Carroll (which, incidentally, is very compelling alternative culture in Italy, and played an important role in the insurrectionary movement in Italy in the 1970s, the main radio station called Radio Alice).
Main Arena soliloquy is impressive with a face mask painted in kaleidoscopic colors and friction (red dress), her character recites a manifesto: "I love living in the drama division, the division .. . Experience a different idea, cultivate love for another opportunity unexpected, full of charm and danger, necessary, inevitable, fatal ... "Written by Punzo, made by Arena rhetoric to speak their lines with a mixture of contempt and distrust, a range of facial expressions that excites both as uncomfortable. In another production,
Marat / Sade
Arena pressed his face through the bars to transmit an encounter between madness and distress is almost unbearable to watch.
suggest the two of them, and Arena Punzo, there is an element of real life - beyond Arena - inform the intensity, you know these feelings all too well. "No," says Arena, "is a work formed. Yeah, after a certain point, I completely lost in the tragedy. Carries me, and maybe there is something. But until here I focus on ideas and directions Armando - I'm practicing, practicing and practicing Everything was done very, very slowly, everyone can do "
"Think Jack Nicholson works on these faces before
" says Punzo.
Arena has been licensed by the Parole Board and prison authorities to continue their enthusiasm, at certain times of the day, across the street from the fort to be tested in a public room in an old building of the late Renaissance. In 2006, Garrone visited and was captivated. He was in the cast time
"You grow up, trying to figure out what you might find in this life and the reality of the place - and the kind of society -. Leaders were we live extended family, they have a chance. And that's what I knew before I met the theater. I did myself. than I did for myself. "We wonder if vengeance Arena feared beyond him. "I know he's dead and you're in prison," he says.