I’ve seen Matteo Garrone‘s Gamorrah twice now and could easily roll with a third viewing. That’s a signification admission for a film as pointedly verite and rigorously un-“dramatic” (in the Godfather sense of that term) as this one. But I’ve fallen for the immersive, un-performed, you-are-there atmosphere that Garrone has fastidiously chosen and created, and my respect for it (and the film, obviously) has grown with each new refresh.

I spoke with Garrone last Monday on the phone. He was in a car somewhere in Los Angeles. The big American Cinematheque screening and after-party at Ago happened the following night. Sorry I wasn’t there.

The film is about the Camorra, or the Italian mafia, which is based in and around Naples. I got within shouting distance of this rancid city during an Italian trip I took with Jett in late May ’07. Talk about a scuzzy environment. The piles of rotting garbage, a result of a ridiculous longtime strike as well as organized crime’s influence upon the situation, were everywhere. I couldn’t get out of the region fast enough.

Gamorrah is based on a best-selling book by Roberto Saviano and Virginia Jewiss.

So far it has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It opens sometime next month.