The Cinema of Matteo Garrone

Roberta Di Carmine


Best known for his film Gomorrah, Italian director Matteo Garrone has attracted considerable critical consideration because of the film’s bleak, authentic portrayal of contemporary Italian society. In my article, I focus on the two films directed a few years before Gomorrah, L’imbalsamatore (The Embalmer, 2002) and Primo Amore (First Love, 2004) and discuss Garrone’s cinematic and narrative techniques. Thanks to his ability to visualize today’s illness in contemporary Italy, Garrone’s cinema is a sign of Italian Neorealism’s lasting heritage which, throughout the years, has evolved into a new form, producing innovative meanings and images, reflections of today’s chaotic times.  If in the highly awarded Gomorrah Garrone reveals these social issues through a drama about the devastating effects of criminality on individuals, in L’imbalsamatore and Primo Amore Garrone explores similar issues through stories of personal pathology, obsessive behavior and twisted sexual relationships. Thanks to his cinema, then, we are reminded of the influential role of Neorealism in cinema, but also of the existence of an Italian society consumed by violence and obsessions.


matteo garrone, italian neorealism

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