Director John Turturro gets in front of the camera to dance with a few Neapolitans he meets.
(Credit: Courtesy of Beta Cinema)

If you would like to watch something a little like a too-long music video with bits of historical footage and a mysterious narrator set in Naples, Italy, Passione is an absolute treat.

But if you’re like most movie-goers who hardly have such strange or specific desires, the documentary film is a confusing conglomeration of clips at its worst and an intriguing piece of foreign musical documentation at its best.

Passione is acclaimed actor/director John Turturro’s attempt at creating a film that delves deep into the heart of Neapolitan music and shows how it is a huge part of that city. In Passione, you clearly witness up-close and personal the passion and talent of the musicians of this city, along with the love of music that is seemingly innate in its citizens.

But the film is strangely edited so that the viewer gets basically entire tracks performed by musicians in a very music-video-esque setting. The entirety of the film gives viewers what feels like a string of music videos interrupted by chunks of black-and-white video clips of Naples along with sporadic interviews.

The film starts off sounding like a travel guide and then ends up being something else. Passione is at times voyeuristic and even sexual, as with one ballad about a lost love. Another scene merely shows a group of women dancing suggestively to the camera while a song plays in the background.

If it were a parody, Passione could maybe get away with these flaws. But the sincerity of the musicians in the performance bits reels you in. Once the song is over, however, the viewer can’t help but wonder: So, what exactly am I watching again?