Blood of My Blood (Sangue del mio sangue) (15) | Close-Up Film Review


Dir. Marco Bellocchio, Italy, 2015, 106 mins, in Italian with English subtitles

Cast:  Roberto Herlitzka, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Alba Rohrwacher, Lidiya Liberman,  Federica Fracassi

Much of Blood of My Blood is mystifying, but nevertheless self-assured. This unusual two-parter starts in 17th Century Italy with a fallen nun known only as Benedetta (played by Lidiya Liberman); before transporting us to a more contemporary setting but the same convent.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Bellocchio’s film is his use of the same actors in a dual character form, Giorgio Bellocchio and Liberman remaining the film’s central characters throughout.

Blood of My Blood does not attempt to educate its audience nor does it openly state its intentions. Its perplexing nature remains obscure throughout. Comprehension is not required; instead a distinct emotional response and lingering emotions become the main motivation in a film so Italian in its references (making reference to the tale of the life of Marianna de Levya, the infamous 16th century “nun of Monza” who was walled inside her convent for 13 years.

The individual plots themselves are very simple. It is their relationship to one another that will bemuse audiences long after the credits have stopped rolling.

The plots are as follows: a nun named Benedetta has been accused of colluding with Satan, much of the first half allows audiences to witness the gruelling medieval trials that were employed to test possible complicity within the convent. To this, there is a sub narrative of Federico (Giorgio Bellocchio), the brother of Benedetta’s priest-lover attempting to save her life and at the same time to rectify his brother’s honour.

Shift forward a century or three and Giorgio Bellocchio is playing the role of a tax inspector (or so we are led to believe) who works on behalf of a rich Russian billionaire named Ivan Rikalkov (played by Ivan Franek) who wants to buy the very same convent, which is now the home of the mysterious Count Basta, rumoured to be a vampire.

Perhaps the overriding political message that Blood of My Blood makes is its comments regarding the Catholic Church. However its perspectives remain very simplistic following the well trodden route of the medieval thinking that characterises religious mentality.

The beauty of Blood of My Blood is that it offers no easy explanations nor demands it in any respect as each of the film’s references hopefully registers in the personal experience of each viewer.

Review by Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark