Paolo Sorrentino and a new love letter to Naples with “Parthenope”

Paolo Sorrentino and a new love letter to Naples with “Parthenope”
Paolo Sorrentino and a new love letter to Naples with “Parthenope”

Paolo Sorrentino and a new love letter to Naples with “Parthenope”

The Italian director Paolo Sorrentino persists and signs a new love letter to Naples, “Parthenope”, presented in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

Parthenope is, according to a Greek legend, the mermaid who died in despair when she could not cast a spell on Ulysses. Her body arrived in the bay where Naples was founded. And Partenope is the character she plays Celeste Dalla Portaa young woman who is born into a wealthy family with a magnificent villa on the shores of the Mediterranean.

According to variations of the legend, Partenope took a vow of chastity, and the protagonist of Sorrentino’s film oscillates between the love that her best childhood friend professes for her and the devotion to her brother. This trio suffers a tragedy that marks the rest of her life.

Paolo Sorrentino (REUTERS/Ciro De Luca)

As she grows into adulthood, Partenope will repeatedly seek wisdom or sex with men older than her.

The Neapolitan Sorrentino is a director who takes his time to guide the viewer through his story. The shots are majestic, the photography impeccable, the dialogue filled with classic quotes.

“Parthenope” is the story of a beautiful and intelligent young woman, sure of her charm but above all curious about the world and the weaknesses of the humans around her. At times it is the portrait of a young Italian woman, at times the allegory of a city known for the mafia, for Catholic devotion and football.

A giant poster of the film ‘Parthenope’ directed by Paolo Sorrentino and selected in the official competition (REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier)

“Love as a method of survival in life has been a failure,” says the protagonist in the film, with a melancholic tone. “Or maybe not,” she adds.

Sorrentino has made “It was the hand of God” (2021) about the impact caused by the arrival of Diego Maradona to the Naples football club, or “The Great Beauty”, a Fellinian tribute to Rome that won the Oscar for best film foreign in 2014. “El Divo” received the Special Jury Prize in 2008 at Cannes.

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