Let me just start by saying that I don’t speak Italian. But thanks to Google’s translator app (which itself isn’t always accurate), I was able make some sense of the translation from Italian to English from the various websites I pulled the info on this film from.
I couldn’t find an English-language write-up of it online. It’s a local (Italian) film that was released theatrical in Italy just last week, and, from all I gather, it’s something of a crowd-pleaser; and given its subject matter, I thought I’d mention it here. There’s always a chance that it might travel.
In brief, directed by Cosimo Alemà, from a script penned by Alemà, Paolo Bernardelli, and Riccardo Brun, the film is titled “Zeta.” With the country’s music industry as a backdrop, specifically the Italian hip-hop scene (hip-hop is universal, in case you weren’t aware), the story is described as a coming-of-age love story, starring both real-life Italian rappers and actors portraying rappers, battling each another – on the mic that is.
Up-and-coming rapper Alex dreams of making it big in the rap music business, and, sure enough, he is given the opportunity to leave that dream, changing his name to Zeta (hence the film’s title), and achieving the kind of success many can only dream about. But as is some times the case, his success is fleeting as he gives into the less desirable aspects of celebrity, like drugs, forgetting his roots and hence the friends he grew up with, falling in with the wrong crowd, and, yes even that dreaded hip-hop sin of veering into pop music, losing his cred to expand his brand.
The film stars Diego Germini (a rapper in real-life, whose stage name is Izi), Irene Vetere, Salvatore Esposito, Jacopo Olmo Antinori, Francesco Siciliano, Sebastiano Gavasso, Manuela Morabito, Massimiliano Gallo, Gianluca Di Gennaro.
The film features real-life rappers Fedez, J-Ax, Salmo, Clementino, Ensi, Baby K, Rocco Hunt and many more.
In the Italian press, the film is being compared to American films like “8 Mile” and there’s apparently quite a bit of enthusiasm for it, based on all that I gathered from all the translating I did, with a *hot* soundtrack featuring many of Italy’s popular rappers.
“Zeta is most definitely the Italian film of today’s generation we’ve been waiting for,” says Vittoria Scarpa for Cineuropa magazine. “Rap has been undergoing a surprising boom in recent years, and has established itself as the most well-loved musical genre of young people. Rhymes and freestyle dominate the charts, television shows, festivals, and rappers have lots of fans online. A film about it all was just waiting to be made.”
And I guess that’s where “Zeta” comes in. It’s director Cosimo Alemà’s 3rd feature (he previously directed “hundreds” of music videos for local artists).
The film is produced by 9.99 Films and Panamafilm in collaboration with Sony Music Italy. It’ss being released in Italy by Koch Media.
The film doesn’t have an all-black cast, but I thought it was worth sharing here as maybe a glimpse into how hip-hop heavily influences and thrives around the world, with local talent, some times in areas and in ways that we may not even consider.