ZeroZeroZero Premiers at the Venice Festival 76

Five years of work and 448 pages, this is ZeroZeroZero, by Roberto Saviano. The raw investigative book that explores how the cocaine trade is at the base of the modern economy. Cocaine, the only commodity that escapes the rules of the market is consumed by those closest to you: “The person sitting next to you on the train is using coca is using it if you sit next to you now on the train to wake up this morning or the driver at the steering wheel of the bus that takes you home, because he wants to work overtime without feeling cramps in his neck ”. Saviano has no doubts and says in a press conference: “Why is cocaine the queen? Because today life is shit, unbearable, we are always inadequate, too fat or too ugly. Truck drivers, surgeons, construction workers, taxi drivers all use it. It activates you with the world, while heroin deactivates you.” This is the most profitable investment imaginable at the moment. By investing $1,000.00 into cocaine, you have the potential of earning $180,000. Everyone can get rich with the White Oil.

Now ZeroZeroZero has become an ambitious eight-episode TV series of international scope directed by Stefano Sollima (Gomorra, Soldado), alongside Mauricio Katz (director of the 3rd, 4th and 5th episodes) and Pablo Trapero (Golden Lion for direction 2015 with El Clan), directed the last three episodes of the first season. Written by Mauricio Katz, Leonardo Fasoli, Maddalena Ravagli and Max Hurwitz. and co-produced by Cattleya for Sky Studios, Amazon and Canal +, the first two episodes were presented today at the Venice festival. Sollima, also the creator of the series, explained its contents: the market, the production, consumption, the way of living and thinking, everything is connected in a global world where a continuous flow of trade brings millions of goods every day to millions of people.

With ZeroZeroZero we explore the paths of one of these goods, perhaps the most universally diffused, the most transversally consumed, and certainly the most profitable. We will follow a container ship from its starting point in Mexico to its destination in Calabria, crossing the world and the stories of our characters, telling how the traffic of this ‘commodity influences the market, the world economy and even our own personal lives. And so it is that in the first two episodes we are told about the beginning of the cocaine journey from the point of view of the buyers in Calabria, of the sellers in Mexico, and of the unsuspecting intermediates from New Orleans, USA. Judging a series after seeing the first two episodes is neither sensible nor the right thing but for now the 3 narrative lines are not all equally convincing. The Mexican action that shows the eternal struggle between Narcotrafficanti and the corrupt army has already been told due to other recent productions. The Italian line in the Calabrian bucolic landscape is at least for the moment more interesting than the south American one, although it seems for now is set up to explore the classic themes of family, betrayal, and generational change. And the part that could be the most promising and interesting is the the story of the family from the US. This story is the one that most manages to show the ambiguity of the crime, its side perhaps more obscure as it is perpetuated by unexpected people like the members of the Lynwood family played by Gabriel Byrne, Dane Dehaan and Andrea Riseborough.

Filmed in three continents, interpreted in six languages ​​by a cast alongside international and Italian talents, ZeroZeroZero, which will be broadcast on Amazon in 2020, is a project linked to the increase in investments regarding the production of original Sky series and the birth of the new pan-European production house Sky Studios. Like The New Pope by Paolo Sorrentino, another series presented a few days ago in Venice, it shows how the international series has the potential to thrill millions of viewers.

I am a filmmaker and a journalist based out of Berlin. I graduated from Vrije Universiteit Brussel. I have a passion for film, music, and Italian cuisine.

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