Marco Bellocchio – Sangue del mio sangue AKA Blood of My Blood (2015)


Two haunting Italian tales from different centuries in the convent prison of Bobbio, caught somewhere between past and present: a young 17th century priest falls under the spell of a bewitching nun and a modern-day tax investigator tries to push a mysterious old man out of hiding… Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlo Lizzani, Pier Paolo Pasolini – Amore e rabbia aka Love and Anger (1969)


Love and Anger is a collection of five stories that are the handiwork of directors that have made names for themselves in decidedly different ways among the annals of foreign cinema. The heavy hitters of the time are all on board, including Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, Partner), Marco Bellocchio (Devil in the Flesh), Carlo Lizzani (Requiescant), Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salo), and, a huge treat, the legendary Jean-Luc Godard (Band of Outsiders, Breathless). Most of these films are extremely surreal, but they all have political undertones. This actually works out quite well, as even if you aren’t familiar with the political climate in Italy and France during the 1960s, you can revel in these masters’ liberal use of inventive imagery, much of which never comes completely together in a standard narrative structure. The actors come from a pair of renowned theater groups: the Living Theater and Andy Warhol Factory, and include Julian Beck, who made his mark in Hollywood as the creepy preacher in Poltergeist II. Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio – I pugni in tasca AKA Fists in the Pocket (1965)


Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions in this astonishing 1965 debut from Marco Bellocchio. Charged by a coolly assured style, shocking perversity, and savage gallows humor, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) was a gleaming ice pick in the eye of bourgeois family values and Catholic morality, a truly unique work that continues to rank as one of the great achievements of Italian cinema. Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio – La Visione del Sabba AKA The Witches’ Sabbath (1988)

Plot: The freshly graduated psychiatrist David shall deliver an opinion about young Maddalena, who’s on trial for murdering a hunter. She claims she’s a witch and acted on behalf of the devil. The public health officer tells David, he’s got reason to believe her, that she’d been searching for a man who suits her needs for 300 years. Already after his first meeting with Maddalena, David begins to change: He ignores his beautiful young wife Cristina and loses himself in daydreams and hallucinations in which he participates in Inquisition questioning and erotic witches’ circles. Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio – Bella addormentata AKA Dormant Beauty (2012)


A mosaic of several intertwined stories questioning the meaning of life, love and hope, set during the last six days in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who spent 17 years in a vegetative state.

With typical intelligence and complexity, director Marco Bellocchio weaves three stories around the politically hot topic of euthanasia, turning a real-life Italian national drama into engrossing narrative for sophisticated audiences. Refusing to offer easy answers or perspectives, Dormant Beauty is directed in such a way it doesn’t need to take a clear-cut position on the question, because like all the director’s work it has no concern with convincing people of anything, but a great deal of interest in illuminating contemporary Italian society. Its unqualified success in doing so should make it a full-fledged contender for a major prize at Venice and help it to closely imitate the international sales of his recent work. Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio – Il Diavolo in corpo AKA Devil in the Flesh [+Extras] (1986)



Description: An Italian high school student becomes infatuated with a woman he sees outside his class window. Her fiancée is in jail for being involved in a radical movement, and she spends much time in court providing moral support. At first she resists the student’s advances, but eventually begins an affair with him. Their situation is condemned by her family and his father, who is the woman’s psychologist. Continue reading

Marco Bellocchio – Sorelle Mai (2010)


Almost exclusively featuring his family, Bellocchio filmed over a ten year period with segments shot from 1999 to 2008. It begins when Elena (Bellocchio’s daughter, and an incredibly natural performer) is five. Elena’s mother, Sara (Finocchiaro), is an actress and is often away from home so Elena spends much of her time with her uncle Pier Giorgio (Bellocchio’s son), a frustrated artist. They live in the small town of Bobbio (Bellocchio’s hometown) with Pier Giorgio’s spinster aunts (Letizia and Maria Luisa Bellocchio).

Over ten years, the film follows these difficult relationships as the characters come and go from Bobbio, and Bellocchio captures the hopes, disappointments and yearnings of his own family. Moments from Bellocchio’s other films including Fist in His Pocket and The Nanny are also interspersed throughout as quick flashes that relate to the family’s onscreen drama. Continue reading