8 1/2
28 November 2015

Black Souls

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Black Souls (Anime nere)

Black Souls (Anime nere)

Black Souls (Anime nere)

original title:


directed by:


Francesco Munzi, Fabrizio Ruggirello, Maurizio Braucci, from the novel "Anime nere" by Gioacchino Criaco


set design:

costume design:


Cinemaundici, Babe Films, On My Own, Rai Cinema, supported by MiBACT, in association with Amer, with the support of Eurimages

world sales:





film run:




release date:


festival & awards:

In a place where blood ties and vendetta still hold sway, this tale of a Calabrian criminal family unfolds. The story starts in Holland and takes us to Milan, before finally arriving in Calabria among the peaks of Aspromonte where it all began, and where it will all end.
Anime Nere is the story of three brothers – the sons of shepherds with ties to the ‘ndrangheta – and their divided souls. Luigi, the youngest, is an international drug dealer. Rocco, Milanese by adoption, is to all appearances a middle-class businessman, thanks to his cousin’s ill-gotten gains. Luciano, the eldest, harbours a pathological fantasy of pre-industrial Calabria and engages in lonely, melancholy dialogue with the dead. His twenty-year-old son Leo belongs to the lost generation, who have no identity. The only thing Leo has inherited from his ancestors is resentment and for him, the future is a train that has already left the station. After a trivial argument, he carries out an act of intimidation against a bar protected by a rival clan. Anywhere else, it would have been dismissed as nothing more than youthful foolishness. But not in Calabria, and especially not in Aspromonte. Instead, it is the spark that lights the fire. For Luciano, it is a return to the drama many years after the murder of his father. In a dimension suspended between the distant past and modern life, the characters are driven towards the archetypes of tragedy.

I shot the movie in the town that writers and journalists have stigmatized as among the most mafia ridden places in Italy, one of the nerve centers of the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta: Africo. When I told people I wanted to shoot there, everyone tried to dissuade me: too difficult the subject, too unapproachable, too dangerous. It was an impossible film. I asked Gioacchino Criaco, the author of Anime nere to help me. I arrived in Calabria full of prejudices and fears. The reality of what I found there was very complex and varied. I saw suspicion turn into curiosity and people open up their homes for us. I mixed my actors up with the inhabitants of the town, who performed and worked with the cast. Without them this film would have been poorer. Africo has a very rough history steeped in criminality but it is one that can help us to understand many things about our country. From Africo you can see Italy better.