Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Black Souls (orig. Anime Nere) [2014]

MPAA (R) (3 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing listing*

Corriere della Sera (S. Ulivi) review*
Il Giornale (B. Silbe) review*
La Repubblica (N. Aspesi) review*
La Stampa (F. Caprara) review*
La Stampa (N. Zancan) review* (M. Triolo) review* (A. Griza, F. Ruzzier) review* (M. Quaglieri) review* (A.A. Pérez Gómez) review* (A. Tallón Castro) review* (J. Kermode) review (B. Tallerico) review

Black Souls (orig. Anime Nere) [2014] [IMDb] []* (directed and screenplay cowritten by Francesco Munzi [IMDb] []* along with Maurizio Braucci [IMDb] and Fabrizio Ruggirello [IMDb] based on the novel [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Gioacchino Criaco [it.wikip]* [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is a recent Italian mafia film that focuses on the 'Ndrangheta or the "Calabrese Mafia" of Calabria, Italy (Calabria being "the toe" of "the boot" of Italy).

The film played recently at the 2015 - 18th European Union Film Festival in Chicago and more recently at a weeklong run at Facets Multimedia.

The story focuses on three brothers from a small town, Africo [en.wikip] [it.wikip]*, in Calabria.  All of them grew-up involved in the 'Ndrangheta crime organization. The oldest, Luciano (played by Fabrizio Ferracane [IMDb] []*), decided long ago that he had enough and returned back to goat herding (though he still kept an arsenal of guns for the others in his barn...).  Middle brother Rocco (played by Peppino Mazzotta [IMDb] []*) was able to "hide/escape" from the "muscle" or otherwise "dirty part of the business" in a different way: He moved up North to Milan, put-on a suit and some glasses, arguably "married-up" to a "borghese" wife, Valeria (played by Barbora Bobulova [IMDb] []*) who perhaps didn't understand initially who she was marrying but was certainly smart enough _now_ to _not ask any questions_.  Finally, there was Luigi (played by Marco Leonardi [IMDb] []*) the youngest brother, who actually _liked_ the work, liked meeting with Latin American Drug Lords on their Bond Villain worthy yachts, liked the logistics of moving their cargo, keeping discipline within the ranks of smaller smugglers and dealers.  And his two older brothers didn't mind the money that he'd send their way for both safe keeping and out of loyalty to them.

Truth be told, it had all become a rather well oiled machine.  And all three brothers actually lived very content, DISCRETE or at least very _professional_ lives of their choice.  What could F- this up?

Well, Luciano had a 20-something year old son Leo (played by Giuseppe Fumo [IMDb] []*) who wasn't finding "goat herding" nearly as "fulfilling" an occupation as his dad, and "pined for" the life of his "cool uncle" Luigi.  But then Rocco and Luigi have spent 20-25 years studiously LEARNING how to be _smart_ and _discrete_ about their "work," work that Leo's dad had long figured-out that he was really _not_ cut out for.

So the three brothers have a "young" and not particularly bright "Turk" on their hands.  The rest of the movie follows ...

Now, the above description COULD have actually been the set-up for a comedy, but here it is certainly not.  The film makes for another reflection about how _choosing_ an evil path ultimately brings one (and a whole lot of others, many even more-or-less innocent) down.

It's a decent enough film, and the Calabrese scenery is often spectacularly beautiful.  Kinda makes one think that Luciano's decision to just go back to goat herding had actually been a pretty good one.

 * Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser.  

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