ANIME NERE || 2014, Italy / France || Drama || Directed by – Francesco Munzi / Written by – Francesco Munzi, Maurizio Braucci, Fabrizio Ruggirello (based on the novel by Gioacchino Ciriaco) / Produced by – Gianluca Arcopinto, Fabio Conversi, Danielle Guirguis, Francesco Melzi d’Eril, Luigi Musini, Olivia Musini / Music by – Giuliano Taviani / Cinematography – Vladin Radovic / Editing by – Cristiano Travaglioli / Production design – Luca Servino / Starring – Marco Leonardi, Peppino Mazzotta, Fabrizio Ferracane / Running time: 109 mins.
A blood feud between two mafia families from Calabria in Italy is re-ignited after a young man’s reckless behavious triggers off a succession of violent events.
The keyword in the synopsys of Black Souls is family. The story, in fact, revolves around three brothers, all defined by their distinctive and different personalities. One is a cerebral and suit wearing traditionalist. Another is a hotheaded and prone to violence. The third has opted for a life away from crime, in favour of a rural lifestyle. The irony is that it is the latter’s son who, out of angst and frustration, stirs up the succession of events that makes up for the narrative of the film. The different personalities of the three brothers also offers examinations upon themes of masculinity, contextualized by the blood stained violence of a plage that is persistent in Italian society.
Francesco Munzi’s direction opts for realism, and his handheld camerawork as well as the use of dialect in the film’s dialogue further strengthens the impact of the approach. However, the dark of Black Souls‘ storyline stalls and does not shift into high gear until its second half, when the sitiation progressively begins to implode and the film shifts into high gear, building up to a significative and shocking finale. – 4/5