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“Anime nere” explores Italy’s darker side

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Contemporary Italian cinema is gaining momentum worldwide with each passing year. When I began writing for Fra Noi back in 2004, I could count on one hand the contemporary Italian film festivals held in America. Fast forward to 2015, and there are dozens of series and festivals across the country that showcase the latest in Italian cinema. That popularity has captured the attention of film distributors, leading them to discover how much Americans really enjoy a good Italian movie.

Francesco Munzi’s “Anime nere” (Black Souls) is the latest example of this trend. The film gained international acclaim when it premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival, and it is made its U.S. premiere in Chicago on March 14 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. After being featured as part of the center’s 18th annual European Union Film Festival, it will be released nationwide on April 10. I’m thrilled to announce that ItalianAmericanVoice.com will be doing a multi-part series in conjunction with that release.

“Anime nere” offers an unflinching depiction of organized crime in Calabria. The film plunges a family into turmoil when a young man forsakes his law-abiding father and follows his older brother into a life of crime. Adapted from a novel by Giocchino Criaco and directed by one of Italy’s most celebrated young directors, Francesco Munzi, the film features a remarkable cast, including Marco Leonardi from Giuseppe Tornatore’s beloved “Cinema Paradiso.”

Check out www.ItalianAmericanVoice.com first thing in the morning on Wednesday, March 25, for the first installment in my series.

One other Italian film will be featured at the Siskel Center Fest.

“How Strange To Be Named Federico: Scola Narrate Fellini” (5:45 p.m. on March 28 and 6:30 p.m. on April 2) is a highly personal tribute to a cinematic icon from a major director who not only admired and knew Fellini, but also used him as a role model. In Italian with English subtitles.

For details, visit http://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/eufilmfest2015.

About Jeannine Guilyard

Jeannine Guilyard is a longtime correspondent for Fra Noi and the Italian-American community newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. She has also contributed to the Italian Tribune of New Jersey, Italian Tribune of Michigan and L'Italo Americano of Southern California. Jeannine wrote and directed the short film "Gelsomina," which was selected for the Screenings Program of the 59th Venice Film Festival, and she won Emmy and Peabody awards as an editor of ABC's "Special Report" following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Jeannine is also a writer and editor for Italian Cinema & Art Today, a publication and blog she founded in 2005 to bridge culture between New York and Italy. Follow her on Instagram at Italianartcinema and on Twitter at @ItaloCinema2day.

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