Blood of my Blood, Bellocchio between past and present
by Camillo De Marco
- VENICE 2015: The director returns to the small town where he shot Fists in The Pocket 50 years ago to once again reckon with his roots
All of Marco Bellocchio’s films are made with members of his own family. Blood of my Blood [+see also:
interview: Marco Bellocchio
film profile] – in competition at the Venice Film Festival – seals the kindred blood tie that has bound his directorial discourse since the time of Fists in The Pocket. Bellocchio returns to the exact same place his masterpiece was filmed 50 years ago, Bobbio, to once again reckon with his roots. The protagonist of the film is his son Pier Giorgio, a choice that seems natural and necessary. It is in this small town in the province of Piacenza that the director and his actor son set up, some time ago now, their own “little Cinecittà” – as Pier Giorgio describes it – with the laboratory Fare Cinema, which is dedicated to young people and runs a small summer festival.
The film opens in 1630 with Federico Mai, a young soldier who is called back to his family’s village by his distraught mother because Federico’s twin brother, a priest, has committed suicide in the town’s convent and cannot be buried on consecrated ground. The nun who seduced him, Benedetta (Lidiya Liberman), is accused of witchcraft and bricked into a wall alive, after a series of inquisitions. Fast forward 400 years and we find Federico as a middleman in modern-day Bobbio, wrestling with a sort of vampire count, the supernatural master of the town and the head of a consortium of powerful people.
"Bobbio is the world” the vampire count (played by Roberto Herlitzka) sarcastically declares whilst chatting with his dentist Toni Bertorelli, both of them disgusted with the effects of globalisation. The battle between old and new is constant and neither are winning. But the old must first step to one side, as Bellocchio informs us. The links between past and present lies in the root of power, which was once held by the church and is held today by the person with the most wealth. Only women, with their explosive power, dare to oppose such brazen authoritarian attitudes.
Bellocchio once again brings together his most well-loved actors like a family: as well as those mentioned above, the cast features Alba Rohrwacher and Federica Fracassi (who both appeared in Dormant Beauty [+see also:
interview: Marco Bellocchio
film profile]), Bruno Cariello and Filippo Timi, as well as Bellocchio’s daughter Elena and his brother Alberto.
The cinematography of Blood of my Blood is by Daniele Ciprì, the editing by Francesca Calvelli and Claudio Misantoni, the music by Carlo Crivelli, the set design by Andrea Castorina and the costumes by Daria Calvelli. The film is a Kavac Film production in co-production with IBC Movie and Rai Cinema and is co-produced by Barbary Films, Amka Films and RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, in association with Sofitvcine 2. It will be released in theatres as of tomorrow, 9 September, and will be distributed by 01 Distribuzione in 100 copies.
(Translated from Italian)