“NAPLES IN VEILS”— Naples of Romance and Death

“Naples in Veils”  (“Napoli velata”) Naples of Romance and Death Amos Lassen Naples is a center of great art and architecture, but death remains a constant presence there. This is the Naples we do not see often or hear much about.
After a torrid night with Andrea (Alessandro Borghi), Adriana (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) is sure that he is “the one”. Then she is rather disappointed when he doesn’t to show for their date the next day. The good news is he did not stand her up intentionally. The bad news is that is dead. He wasn’t just murdered but  was  also blinded and disfigured. Filled with grief and disappointment, Adriana starts to see a man who looks just like Andrea all over Naples. Lucas (also Alessandro Borghi) was Andrea’s twin brother who was separately adopted out while both were still in infancy. Luca’s planned meeting with Andrea never happened and he needs little encouragement to pick up with Adriana where his brother left off. They agree to keep his presence in her life secret for fear that Andrea’s  killers will then come looking for him. This also includes the police and even Antonio, the detective who is falling for her. Much to her own surprise, Adriana also begins to feel an attraction to him as well, further complicating matters.
This is a psychological thriller with hints of the supernatural and many of the twists and turns come out of the city’s macabre lore.Director Ferzan Ozpetek masterfully commands the film’s seductive mood and even manages to pull off a surprise or two through misdirection. It is a film that has everything— sex, mystery, beautiful photography, great characters and an exciting story. Adriana is  a medical examiner from Napoli who meets Andrea at a party and spends one very hot and unforgettable night with him. Keeping in mind that everything in this movie is an enigma and that nothing is obvious, we follow ghosts down dark alleys like in the great thrillers of the ’40s and ’50s did. Ozpetek brings together ancient culture with modern sensibilities and keeps us guessing. Is Andrea losing her mind? Is she marked for death? Is she in love with a ghost?
Ozpetek celebrates the Naples as an ancient source of mystery and her Baroque palaces and streets are the moody backdrop to the story of lost love and repressed memories. It all begins at a party where an avant-garde play is being performed in a wealthy private home. Pasquale (Peppe Barra), dressed in ancient Roman togs, addresses his standing audience of sophisticates. The party is held in the apartment of Adriana’s intriguing aunt Adele (Anna Buonaiuto).  There Adriana is swept off her feet by the bold advances of blue-eyed Andrea and they spend the night together at her place. He’s sexy and masterful but he doesn’t show up for their first date at the archeology museum the following afternoon or answer his phone.In the hospital, while conducting a routine autopsy on a young murder victim, Adriana discovers an unmistakable tattoo on the youth’s loins that identifies him as Andrea.
The police are already on her trail, led there by some artistic nude photos Andrea took of her on his phone while she was sleeping. With all her latent fears set in motion, Adriana begins to see the dead man’s ghost on the subway and even in her garden, but something always prevents them from meeting until the ghost reveals himself as Andrea’s long-lost twin brother Luca. I cannot say any more about the plot without giving something away but I totally recommend an exciting evening with this film. It will keep you busy thinking about what you see.

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