Ultras - Italian production on Netflix
We had the opportunity to watch a film about the fanatics of Napoli - Ultras. On the one hand, a pleasant image, well-dressed actors (there were a lot of clothes m.in from Weekend Offender), and on the other hand, poor understanding of the fan topic.
In Naples itself, the film was received in one word - poorly. The production was commented on by one of the well-known sports journalists Carlo Alvino, who called it absurd. Local fans also reacted by hanging banners as part of a protest across the city. No wonder - apart from great shots and a good soundtrack (rapper Liberato), the creators have very little delved into the world of real ultras.
For director Francesco Lettieri, who once shot music videos for the aforementioned rapper, this is his film debut. "Ultras" was born from one music video, where a fan got a stadium ban for the matches of his beloved team. As a result, a few years later, a full-length film was made.
"I think the ultras scene has a lot of cinematic potential." - Francesco Lettieri placeholder image
The role of the main character was played by a former criminal - Aniello Arena. A former Camorra member received a life sentence in 1991 for a street shooting in which three people were killed. In prison, he reported to a theater club, where it turned out that he was a great actor. He even received the di Donatello Award (Italian Film Award) for Best Actor in Matteo Garrone's Reality. Aniello spends most of his time in prison, but as part of his social reintegration, he is released for filming. The other actors fit into the vibe, although some are more like a gang of motorcyclists than ultras. The film itself tells the story of a fictional group of ultras called "Apaches". Three generations of supporters, their friendships and problems are presented. The main plot tells the story of Sandro (Aniello Arena), an older fan and leader of the ultras, and a younger friend of Angelo, for whom he is an authority. The leader will face his past and will try to ensure a better future for the young ultras.
Filming took place mainly in the areas of Pozzuoli, Baia, Bacola and Fuorigrotta, where the San Paolo Stadium is located. Interestingly, Napoli did not agree to the use of the logo. All flags, scarves and graphics are fictional in the film.
There are a lot of criticisms about the script and the fan theme. Lettieri himself justifies himself: "I interviewed former members of fan groups who offered to help me create real stories and realistic characters." After watching, it is safe to say that the film (available on the Netflix platform) does not show anything new about the ultras scene. There are no original stories there. If you're hoping for more than "Green Street Hooligans" or "Okolofutbola," that's fine. On the other hand, the film was shot really well (visually), which in our opinion is the only incentive to watch it.