Luigi Zampa

Sog.: Ettore Giannini, Francesco Rosi. Scen.: Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Ettore Giannini, con la collaborazione di Diego Fabbri, Turi Vasile, Luigi Zampa. F.: Enzo Serafin; M.: Eraldo Da Roma. Scgf.: Aldo Tomassini. Mus.: Enzo Masetti. Int.: Amedeo Nazzari (giudice Antonio Spicacci), Mariella Lotti (Elena Spicacci), Silvana Pampanini (Liliana Ferrari), Paolo Stoppa (il delegato Perrone), Franco Interlenghi (Luigi Esposito), Tina Pica (la padrona del ristorante), Edward Cianelli (don Alfonso Navona). Prod.: Film Costellazione. DCP. D.: 108’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Italian cinema did not talk about the camorra [Neapolitan mafia] in 1952. Germi had talked about the mafia once, in In nome della legge, in 1949, and ran the risk of bestowing a dubious sense of dignity on these “men of honour”. In Processo alla città, Zampa represented this criminal element, which, as Sciascia would later say of the Sicilian mafia, constituted “a ‘system’ that… contains and promotes the economic and political interests of a particular class… and does not arise and develop in the “vacuum” left by the State (in other words, when the State, its laws and functions are weak or absent) but rather “within” the State.” Like Sciascia’s mafia, Zampa’s camorra “is a parasitical bourgeoisie, a bourgeoisie that does not do anything, but merely exploits”. It exploits and kills, as is apparent from the very start of the film. Zampa concedes no sense of dignity to this “honourable society”, to the camorrista who boasts that he too is a “man of the law” and that it is simply that his law is less complicated and more direct. Zampa removes any sense of honour from these “men of honour”, who are represented in terms of the squalor of their purely economic interests and their generally exploitative practices… Zampa launches an accusation against a system of power governed by a code of silence, which envelops all it does in a cloak of silence… The past that he depicts is viewed through a neorealist lens, because it is a brutal past made up of injustice and the abuse of power, which mirror that of the present; a past that should be narrated with realism, precision (also in terms of language) and respect… Zampa is not yet able to talk about contemporary Naples, as Francesco Rosi would do shortly thereafter in La sfida (1958) [co-written by Suso Cecchi d’Amico]; but he shows how, in 1952, you can use the past to advance a socially engaged commentary on the present.

Alberto Pezzotta, Ridere civilmente. Il cinema di Luigi Zampa, Edizioni Cineteca di Bologna, Bologna 2012


Perhaps the best screenplay I ever wrote is the one for Processo alla città. It is a really beautiful screenplay… Zampa is an underrated director. I think he played an important role. I have always admired his enthusiasm and had sympathy for the role he occupied in those years; I admired his ability to make our stories relevant, all the while often placing them within the context of entertaining comedies. He was a director whose style was less artistic than some of those who followed, but his strengths are indisputable.

Suso Cecchi d’Amico, in Scrivere il cinema, edited by Orio Caldiron and Matilde Hochkofler, Edizioni Dedalo, Bari 1988

Copy From

courtesy of Gaumont