No Noir is Good Noir
you like your films dark and seamy, your heroes
cynical, your femmes
fatal, your lighting low-key, your camera work shaky —if
you like violence, sex, moral ambiguity, tarnished
idealism, and voice-overs (or at least subtitles) to
explain what’s going on, then welcome to Naples
noir, where even the English is shaky.
early March, 2007, director Vittorio Adinolfi went
on-line with the first episode of “Nea polis”
[sic]—the spacing is meant to create a pun on the
original Greek name of the city (Neapolis), “Naples” and
“police”. (I think, but I’m really guessing, since I get
lost quite easily in the dark underworld of language
will be weekly episodes, each about 3 minutes. I have
seen the first one: “Nea polis 001”. The screen is black
and white with a simulated index card upon which is
written the premise for the series. The type font
simulates that of old manual typewriters; all the
letters with “holes” in them—a, o, b, q, etc.—have been
darkened in to simulate the non-involvement of anyone
with secretarial skills. After all, noir
means “dark” and if you can’t read the script, so much
the better. (Although, I
think Sam Spade had a secretary:
I poured myself a couple of fingers of bourbon, set fire to a cigarette and watched her hands caress the keys of my battered old 4-bank frontstrike Underwood 5. I liked the way her hands were attached to her wrists. That was the way it should be, I thought. “The o’s are getting full again,” she whispered. "When they were empty, they said so much. Now they're... Hold me, Sam.” I did as I was told. “Just you mind your P’s and Q’s, gorgeous,” I said.)
card is written in English (kind of —the following
transcript is exactly how it appears ):
Nea polis 001, The Rise. Maybe in the future, maybe in Naples. [A subsequent card says] "A city destroyed by earthquake and divided in four districts ‘governed’ by majors bosses. The prefect is alone to represent the state. The inhabitants live underground, in cellars, and garages, poors and emarginated lives in dangerous buildings. Some citizen is engaged in a sort of police corps.
The trailer starts, set to the dramatic strains of Wagner’s “Funeral March” from The Twilight of the Gods. We read (again, in English —kind of): “The city is destroyed”; “They are the law” (we see three of the citizens who are “engaged in a sort of police corps”); “Violence is praxis”; “Truth is in the deceit;” and “There isn’t tomorrow,” as various glimpses of the coming episodes play out on the small black & white screen embedded in your computer screen (simulated dirty tape holds it in place against the simulated dirty card on your screen). The plot will revolve around mob warfare in the dystopian future of post-catastrophe Naples, all of it shot on location in the present-day dystopia of the half-finished concrete slab buildings that stand on the outskirts of mid-catastrophe Naples, where mob warfare is very current.
Episode one (the only one I have seen) starts: three members of the "sort of police corps" kill someone even before the music starts (the overture to The Flying Dutchman —get used to Wagner). A discussion takes place in the stairwell of one of the abandoned buildings. The war against the mob will have to be interrupted because the prefect's teen-age son has disappeared, one of many such cases. A serial killer may be on the prowl. Stay tuned. Closing credits scroll (too fast to read) to more Wagner. Nea Polis is in Italian with small and hard-to-read subtitles in the same kind of English as the set-up in the intro. So far, no sex, although the trailers did show some potential.
2010—I see they
are up to episode 13. They've gone back and redone the
first episodes; Wagner is gone, replaced by Brahms. I
don't know why. They've also added color intros to the
episodes before fading over to good old noir black and
white. Maybe it was all just too noir. The English
subtitles still are, though.