Italy, France


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.

Director's Statement

I made this film in a town that legal professionals and journalists stigmatise as one of the most mafia-ridden places in Italy, one of the nerve centres of the Calabrian ‘ndrangheta: Africo. Africo, in the province of Reggio Calabria, on the Ionic coast: the sea is beautiful there, unknown to tourists, and behind it rise up some of the most beautiful, untamed mountains in Italy – the Aspromonte. In between, the landscape is marked by the anarchic building developments so indicative of the south of Italy, and of the mistreatment of Italy.
When I said I wanted to make the film there, everyone tried to discourage me: it’s too difficult, it’s inaccessible, it’s too dangerous.
It was an impossible film. I sought help from Gioacchino Criaco, author of “Anime Nere”, the book on which the film is loosely based. I arrived in Calabria full of prejudice and fear. I discovered a very complex and diverse reality. I saw mistrust turn into curiosity, and people opened their doors to us.
I mixed my actors with the residents of Africo, who acted and worked with the cast. Without them, this film would have been poorer. Africo has a very tough history of criminality but it can help us understand many things about our country. From Africo, we have a better view of Italy.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Francesco Munzi

Written by: Maurizio Braucci, Francesco Munzi

Produced by: Luigi Musini, Olivia Musini

Cinematography: Vladan Radovic

Editing: Cristiano Travaglioli

Production Design: Luca Servino

Costume Design: Marina Roberti

Original Score: Giuliano Taviani

Sound Design: Stefano Campus

Cast: Marco Leonardi (Luigi), Peppino Mazzotta (Rocco), Fabrizio Ferracane (Luciano)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2015