Most films show people's personal lives as if they were outside history, and History as a dry document of political events. The Reign of Naples breaks down this comfortable separation in its telling of history - Naples from 1944 to '69 - as everyday existence. And not, as in so many Italian art films (The Damned for example) as the everyday existence of the upper middle class; Schroeter follows the lives of a few families in the poor quarter, and shows us post-war Italy in the flesh. The young girl trying to keep her dignity and earn a living, her brother working for the Party, the woman whose daughter dies from lack of penicillin - all are shown with as much passion as if this were a romantic melodrama. In contrast, standard historical information is cursorily sketched in at intervals over shots of posters, documentary footage, old stills: standard images for 'History'. It is rare that politics is shown to be the substance of real life: this film achieves it.
The Reign of Naples
Cast and crew