Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sangue del mio Sangue – review

Director: Marco Bellocchio

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

Many thanks to blog reader Alberto who has emailed me with a couple of suggestions of films for the blog – in both cases films I hadn’t come across. This one Sangue del mio Sangue, or Blood of My Blood, is a film that perhaps falls into the more arthouse end of the vampire genre.

It is available on DVD and Blu-ray but, as far as I can find, only in Italian currently. However there are fansubs out there in English.

Federico (modern) with Ivan
The film is strange in its structure. Essentially split into two stories both centred on a building in Bobbio – in the first story it is a convent and it is disused in the second story but referred to as a prison. The two stories have some of the same actors and one of the primary characters within both tales is called Federico Mai (Pier Giorgio Bellocchio), in the first tale he is the brother of a priest (whom he looks uncannily like) who committed suicide and in the second he is a tax inspector who looks to sell the Bobbio prison to a Russian oligarch (Ivan Franek).

trial by ordeal
The first film sees the interrogation and trials of Benedetta (Lidiya Liberman) as the priest Cacciapuoti (Fausto Russo Alesi) looks to prove that she bewitched and seduced Federico and thus allow him to be buried in hallowed grounds (and open the way for him to eventually enter heaven). However she seems capable of passing the trials and Federico has fallen for her just as his brother did. One thing that struck me was the use of tracks by Scala & Kolacny Brothers, a haunting version of Nothing Else Matters and their sublime piece Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, itself used in We are the Night.

Patrizia Bettini as the Count's wife
The vampire aspect is in the second story however. Although the prison is reported empty it is actually the residence of the Count Basta (Roberto Herlitzka). We meet his estranged wife (Patrizia Bettini), who describes the Count – missing, as far as she is concerned, for years – as a vampire but that is allegorical surely? The Count has a toothache and goes to his dentist (Toni Bertorelli) and it becomes clear that they class themselves as vampires – they are not immortal, as the Count says, and the blood no longer does anything for him.

not in photo
He also, that evening, spots a waitress, Elena (Elena Bellocchio), who stirs within the old vampire feelings (of a romantic nature) that he has not felt for some time. She happens to be the sister of Federico. If we were in doubt of the Count’s nature it is dismissed, perhaps, when a photograph is taken of him with Elena and her friends that fails to capture him – there is, instead, a glow where he should be… that said his wife does have an older picture of him on her phone.

Roberto Herlitzka as Count Basta
The film is perhaps more mood than substance within the story, leading us and leaving us to search for the meaning ourselves. However it is beautifully shot, well acted and, as mentioned, has some sublime moments on the soundtrack. For those seeking a defined plot this is not for you, however there is a gothic tone lying with the sense of mystery. I liked it. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: