Samp, both the character and the film, are metaphors, looking into our lives and the passion we have. The film follows a man who is commissioned to kill ordinary people, as he falls in love and moves through the world where he lives.
Watching this film, it really felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole and into a bizarre world. I think bizarre really is the perfect world to sum this film up in my opinion. I enjoyed how crazy it was, yet I could follow the story and lives of these people without getting lost along the way. We see protagonists and characters presented to us, not knowing whether they’ll be good people, or even live long enough to prove themselves. I liked how there were a few threads to the story and each character took us along with them, whether they interacted with Samp or not. Sometimes I was confused by their presence, but I guess that links to life and how people are always popping in and out.
Creators of the film Antonio Rezza and Flavia Mastrella have a deep love for theatre, and you can really see the film being influenced by theatrics and the magic of the stage. Everything felt very over the top, like I was watching a cool new show that challenges things, yet keeps the audience hooked with wild costume choices and twists. We definitely had that in this film. Researching the production more, filming started in 2001, and with it only coming out in 2020, you can see how quality and stories have changed over the years. I liked this fun approach to a story, rather than the typical gritty films of the early 2000s.
Before we look at the filming, I’d love to bring up the sound. Like being in the theatre, the sounds felt away from the film, like they’d all been added in editing. I quite liked it as it put emphasis on them and made us feel away from the drama, as opposed to the filming style. One of my favourite moments for the sound was near the end of the film when Samp and another character enter an empty amphitheatre, yet we can hear a crowd screaming and cheering. It just added so much to this bizarre world, and like we were on a real stage, watching the action unfold with an audience.
This sort of “fly on the wall” camera work really gripped me from the start. I liked that the quality was fuzzy, and the sides moved and changed. It was like we were in the pocket of a character or buzzing alongside them. I felt so close to the action, but like I said with the sound, it also felt like I was so far away from it. The choice of angles was interesting, and it was refreshing to see something so different. Shot in Puglia with a mix of Messapian and Greek traditions, the locations felt like characters on their own. It really did add to this idea that we were in a new world, similar to places we might see in Star Wars, or similar fictional films.
I think this is a film that some people would find funny, yet others might be disturbed by. It’s understandable that something a little more experimental, and something in a different language for many may be more difficult to watch, but to see Samp’s story come full circle really was enjoyable. I wouldn’t recommend this film to everyone, but if you give it a chance, I hope you enjoy it.