Anime Nere France, Italy 2014 – 109min.
Two Calabrese brothers run coke in Milan. Meanwhile, their older brother Luciano, who suffers from chronic depression, works as a shepherd while trying to ignore the mafia activities around him. But his son Léo doesn’t share his vision – he’d rather join up with his uncles and make lots of money.
Directed by Francesco Munzi, this movie succeeds as more than just a simple story of revenge between Calabrese families. Far from what you would expect from a movie about the Italian mafia, which usually focus on intrigue, murder and plot twists (as famously styled by The Godfather), Black Souls is punctuated by long car rides and landscapes, resting on the expressionistic faces of the villagers – played by both actors and real-life local residents – before it gets down to the tale of daily life in the mafia. The characters are presented unceremoniously, with an unforced quality. They are not particularly charismatic and the mafia is neither idealized nor romanticized. The movie’s first shot isn’t fired until an hour in. And for those who may understand it, the authentic Calabrese dialogue is a real treat.