BLACK SOULS, from director/co-writer Francesco Munzi. But why not? This is, after all, a Mafia movie made by Italians -- and not in the mainstream, oh-how-cute! mode of the recent and sort-of black-comic failure, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer. No. This film is about as grim and real as you could ask for. Except, of course, you probably won't. Because Americans demand their Mafia movies and TV shows be entertaining above all, and, yes, glamorous and fun. And don't tell me that The Godfather and, more recently, The Sopranos were not every bit of that, despite James Gandolfini's and the rest of the cast's remarkable performances in the latter. American Mafia movies somehow make "heroes" of their boys; Italians know them for the worthless pieces of walking/barely-talking shit that they are.
Gomorrah, there has not been a Mafia movie I've seen to equal the dark and pitiful lives on view in Black Souls. Filmmaker Munzi, shown at left, understands how the lives touched by these people are made infinitely worse by that fingering. This includes the families -- immediate and extended -- of the clan, as well as those who serve and service them. The picture painted here is dank and dismal but Munzi sure knows how to make it an interesting one, full of incident and development -- even as those incidents move from worse to worst.
Le Quattro Volte (oh, those goats!), and there is even a scene in which a character combines ashes in water and drinks the glass up.
Marco Leonardi, above, and Barbora Bobulova, at left, three photos above), and others you'll swear were picked off the dirt path of some mountain village. No matter, they all work together to form an utterly authentic ensemble.
Vitagraph Films and running a just-right 103 minutes -- opens this Friday, April 10, in New York City at the Angelika Film Center and City Cinemas 123; in Los Angeles, look for it April 24 at the Landmark NuArt. In the weeks to come, it will open in another 17 cities across the country. You can see all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters listed, by clicking here.