I don’t need much convincing when it comes to seeing American films made in or about Italy. The advertising might be ordinary, the reviews even lukewarm, I will still pay for a cinema ticket — just to see how this lovely country is depicted and framed by directors’ eyes.
The poster for John Turturro’s upcoming film Passione captured my attention beyond the fact that the film is set in Naples. Its style, painterly with rich colors on a black background, recalls 1960s Italian film posters. The bright yellow lettering, which seems to dance, brings to mind the longish block lettering of the same color on the famous La Dolce Vita poster, or the golden type on the Italian version of Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man (called Il Ladro).
The large expressive face filling the lower left side of the poster also evokes this vintage advertising style, especially because it is slightly blurred in a sepia tone. I think of Anna Magnani and Isabella Rossellini––expressing agony, fear, seduction––whose visages defined the film graphics of their era.
Yet the poster is decidely contemporary. The uneven title and off-kilter names give the feeling of movement, while the splashy wet-painted strokes in the background add rough emotion. Its colors bleed The edgy styling is emblematic of the grafitti-covered streets of Naples and the city’s dark side. The poster gives an immediate sense of the film’s subject described in its tagline “A musical adventure,” that is, Neopolitan music and dance.
Though not a diehard fan of Neopolitan music, I’ll be in the English-language theater when this hits Rome.
John Turturro’s Passione
The playlist for the film