Marco Bellocchio’s movies surrender increasingly less to logical thinking dictatorship, they don’t want to be bound to a plot in the strictest sense of the word, nor they want to go on with their reasoning through logical rails. These ways of thinking, from My Mother’s Smile, are contaminated with swerves, not ended syllogisms or Pindaric flights that often (and not always) are the best part of the movie: for sure, they are in Blood of my Blood.

It is strictly divided in two (the past and the present, around a jail-monastery in Bobbio, once operative, now ruin). The movie barely puts in relation the stories of a woman taken to trial for evil possession: of a man, Federico Mai, that tries to restore his brother’s name’s honor (ruined by her); in the present, of a Count who lives secretly in the jail-monastery: of the heir of that Fedeico Mai who wants to buy it deceptively.

What counts more in Blood of my Blood is that Bobbio is filled with a fictional evil, that seems to derive from magic, devil or vampire, a fantasy evil that passes on through families (as always in Bellocchio’s movies), through people that look alike (played by the relatives of the director who truly look alike), that is to say people that even in a visual way are marked on their bodies with blood bounds. It’s the evil that keeps that town underdeveloped, plotting by night to avoid the arrival of modernity in any possible way. But as we’ve already said, these ways of thinking are the worst parts of the movie; the best lays in the suggestions that catch Bellocchio.

He’s in love with secret lovers, with the consequences of religion on the events, with the obligations that it creates in people’s life. The movie is animated by self-satisfaction  luddite and identifies in the new relative something negative, at least something that could live to negativity, a fecund soil for curses and flaws. Even if not everything in this movie seems to be at its top, it’s no doubt that the feeling of negativity of a little community and the association of it with a religious origin and a familiar bound find an harmonic synchrony, because everything in this movie passes though images (as always in Bellocchio’s recent works and especially since the eye he uses for his images is Daniele Ciprì’s), and through the knowledge that comes from the intuition of visions, and not from the reasoning of the mind. Even for this reason, there are few explanations but many omissions that don’t follow logical rails: because sometimes you can understand more associating similar faces of relatives, rather than thinking out loud.

By Gabriele Niola
Translation: Bianca Baroni
Photos: Eleonora Agostini & Alessio Costantino
In collaboration with

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