Paolo Sorrentino’s Naples: The People and Places of “The Hand of God”

“The Hand of God” is packed with beautiful and surreal scenes of Naples. Learn about the locations, people, and cultural references in Sorrentino’s Neapolitan masterpiece.

House of Gucci: Read the Book, See the Film

House of Gucci, the amazing-looking film that features a star-studded cast including Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, will soon be out in theaters and I am really excited to see it. The trailer looks amazing: But as cool as the movie looks, I am really dying to read the book first! House of Gucci: A … Read more

‘Romulus’ TV Series a Dramatic Look at the Founding of Rome

The birth of the city of Rome is a legend shrouded in mystery, violence, power, family drama, and the supernatural. In other words, it’s the kind of story that is perfect for a television series.

Romulus, a 10-part series airing later this fall, is a dramatic retelling of Rome’s 8th century BC origin story. But rather than tell the children’s story of Romulus, Remus, and the She-Wolf, this series focuses on the primitive tribes from which Rome was born. What’s more, it was filmed entirely in archaic Latin.

“We are not actually narrating the legend of the she-wolf that saves the twins,” explains executive producer Marco Chimenz. “We do have a she-wolf but she’s a guerrilla leader, a woman who leads a group of outcasts to fight against the established power. She already has an idea of Rome, which is an idealised place that can free men and women from fear of nature, of gods and constant oppression and slavery. It’s a very modern ideology.”

Chimenz, who helped create the popular series Gomorrah and Suburra, worked with director Matteo Rovere of The First King to bring Romulus to the screen. This included re-creating the ancient city of Alba Longa as well as consulting with scholars on the Latin script.

 “We have all seen a lot of films and TV series about ancient Rome and they are spoken in English, very often British English, which has become the language for this kind of storytelling,” Chimenz says. “Doing this series in English was not realistic, but doing it in Italian was not realistic either, so we decided to recreate this language. The actors had to learn all the lines and dialogue by heart, which prevented them from improvising.”

Romulus stars Italian actors Andrea Arcangeli, Francesco Di Napoli, and Marianna Fontana as Yermos, Wiros, and Ilia, the three characters through whose eyes we learn about this ancient universe. Hundreds of other actors and stunt performers were also on set for dramatic battle and ritual scenes.

If you enjoyed the HBO series Rome, which first aired in 2005 and is now available for streaming, you will love Romulus. Just make sure you are ready to pay attention! An entire show in Latin is not ideal for the lazy viewer.

Surf Italiano: Two Films About Surfing in Italy

Chris Del Moro surfing in Italy

Two films about surfing in Italy have come across my inbox in the past week.

Peninsula

The first video is Peninsula, a documentary about surf beginnings in Italy. On the occasion of the film’s debut in Milan this week, Corriere della Sera tells the story (in Italian) of Alessandro Dini and his friends who introduced surfing — both the sport and the lifestyle — to the Italian peninsula. The film will begin a world tour after its showing in Milan, so look for it at your local indie theater in the coming months.

Bella Vita

Bella Vita is a video about American surfer, artist, and environmentalist Chris del Moro who goes to Italy to reconnect with his ancestral homeland, his family, and tasty waves. This film came out in 2013 but it seems to be making the rounds now that it has received several film festival awards, such as the Official Selection for the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2013 and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014.