The fifth and final season of Neapolitan mob series “Gomorrah” was unveiled Monday during an emotionally charged Rome event saluting the end of the gritty, groundbreaking show.
As Nils Hartmann, senior director of Sky Italia original productions, put it during the press conference, in Italian TV “there is a before and after ‘Gomorrah.’”
The hyper-realistic crime skein is Italy’s greatest TV export, having sold to 190 territories since its 2014 launch, despite being subtitled even for Italian audiences, most of whom don’t understand the Neapolitan dialect in which “Gomorrah” is voiced. The show — best known for mixing neorealism with genre conventions and Shakespearean tropes — is produced by ITV Studios-owned Cattleya in collaboration with Germany’s Beta Film.
Plotwise, the final season takes its two lead characters — Ciro Di Marzio, played by actor-turned-director Marco D’Amore, and Gennaro “Genny” Savastano, played by Salvatore Esposito (both pictured) — and their tormented paths to extreme consequences.
The final act of the Sky Original series, which is based on a best-selling exposé by Italian writer Roberto Saviano, will launch on Sky in Italy on Nov. 19, followed by a continental European rollout in 2021. “Gomorrah 5” will play on HBO Max in the U.S. in early 2022. A U.K. airdate on Sky is still being decided.
“More than anybody else in the series, these two [characters] have embodied the spirit of its narrative,” said director Claudio Cupellini, who has been among the “Gomorrah” helmers from the outset.
They are “almost brothers, friends, enemies by turn. And both caught in their own perpetual fight for self-affirmation, for survival; for the biggest share; for power,” he added.
Producer Riccardo Tozzi, who heads production outfit Cattleya, underlined that the key to the show’s success has been that “Gomorrah” is rooted in Italy’s neorealist tradition which “we advanced by adding genre codes and conventions that made it international.”
The gritty realism of “Gomorrah,” which stems from the journalistic approach of its source material, was also pointed out by Cattleya’s Gina Gardini, who served as the show’s executive producer across all five seasons.
“The starting point, especially for the head writers, was always to do an in-depth investigation and then build our story around that,” Gardini said.
“The beauty of this long process, which has lasted for years, is that together with this powerful reality, this exclusively evil point of view, we also managed to build characters that are so meaty, so monstrously beautiful,” she noted.
Added Saviano: “It’s not just about criminal power, or about family, or violence.”
What’s made “Gomorrah” travel globally is that the world of gang wars waged by the Camorra, as the Neapolitan mob is known, in the city’s Scampia neighborhood, mirrors the same gangland dynamics found in big cities such as “Paris, Manila, Cairo, Mexico City, Chicago, and even as far as Brazil,” said Saviano.
Esposito also puts Argentina in the mix. The actor, who plays “Genny,” recounted how he will never forget meeting his idol, late great Argentine soccer superstar Diego Maradona who “hugged me and said: ‘it’s a great honor to meet you; I’m such a big fan of the show.'”
They had a great run. But now, the entire “Gomorrah” team seemed to agree, the time has come to pull the curtain, rather than stretch the material for purely commercial reasons.
As Tozzi put it, “The idea was to die while we are still alive, maintaining the show’s narrative energy at its peak.”