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"Black Souls": Surprise! Herding Goats in Sicily Sucks 

Wednesday, Apr 15 2015
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Some movies are clearly made with an international audience in mind, while others are steeped in local traditions and mores, and the filmmakers aren't especially concerned with how easy it is for outsiders to follow the story. While Francesco Munzi's Black Souls is closer to the kind of Italian gangster film that last year's broodfest Salvo had promised to be — and Salvo was ultimately a better film — Souls still feels very inside-baseball, trusting the audience to follow along. Brothers Luigi (Marco Leonardi) and Rocco (Peppino Mazzotta) are drug-running Mafiosi in southern Italy, while the third and eldest brother Luciano (Fabrizio Ferracane) is happy to live a simpler life, herding goats. Not so content with the goat-herding is Luciano's hotheaded son Leo (Giuseppe Fumo), who, as the saying goes, has wanted to be a gangster for as far back as he can remember. Things go sideways when Leo tries to prove his Mafia worth with a gun, dragging his uncles and eventually his father into a deeply messy situation. You can practically smell the musky odors of Black Souls' e'er-so-entitled men, while the women are mostly pawns and property, which is no doubt how things are there in real life.  Also, guys apparently say "busting my balls" a lot. It's a different world.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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