Directed by: Vincent Monnikendam | 94 minutes | documentary
The largest port city in Italy was founded by the Greeks in the 6th century and called ‘New City’. Naples is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe against the silhouette of the volcano Vesuvius and on the Gulf of Naples. The city has a rich history, art and culture, world-famous gastronomy and its own language, Neapolitan. In this fascinating documentary, designed in beautiful visual language, director Vincent Monnikendam descended into the backstreets and steep alleys where sun rays barely penetrate and where dark drama and levity hold the ancient city in their grip.
The documentary is a snapshot of the still present “connection” of the nobility with the poor, of the aboveground with the underground Naples and of the present with the past. These contrasts are reflected in the documentary film work itself. Another storyline are the Works of Mercy, such as a noble lay organization that has been practicing since 1604 and which Caravaggio portrayed in a famous painting of the same name. It is human charity, the deeply rooted charity and solidarity that are depicted in it and that are so characteristic of the Neapolitans of today. As painted by the famous Caravaggio, dark drama and light scenes alternate in the old streets and squares, where the colorful Neapolitans lead a chaotic life of joy and sorrow.
‘Souls of Naples’ paints a beautiful picture of the inhabitants and of the great contrasts that you see between the inhabitants in their back alleys and the rich in the large villas with sea views. The film is beautiful in photography and bursting with fascinating people who often have to play for everyday life or who belong to the local elite of old nobility as an extremely wealthy. Nowhere is the film judgmental, but it does record sharply what occupies people in their daily survival battle. Beautiful little and big philosophies of ordinary people. So you never get to see Naples if you were to go there yourself.
An excellent documentary in beautiful photographic images, impressive and captivating.