Directed by: #AnnemarieLibbers
Written by: #DirkGuntherMohr
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
In 2017’s Dutch drama Capo di Famiglia, the low budget but extremely high-quality drama brilliantly put together by the inspired writer/director partnership of Mohr and Libbers, we saw Vincent de la Rosa (Mohr), the younger of two sons of the then family patriarch Alfred, being told on his wedding day that he, instead of his older and expectant brother Jimmy, would be the one to carry on the family business and protect its legacy.
Now, in this deservedly multi-award-winning second outing, Capo di Famiglia II marks the next chapter in an increasingly captivating and complex tale of family, duty and responsibility. Picking up some years after the events of the first film, Vincent has now fully adopted his place as “head of the family”, flexing all the power and respect that comes with such influence. But his position also welcomes pressure, consequences and enemies looking to bring him down on all sides, leading Vincent to start placing his mistrust, anger and paranoia everywhere, the cracks in his once seemingly perfect life now slowly widening.
Having achieved so much in part one, it would have been very easy and probably enough for Mohr and Libbers to try and simply do the same again. But it’s clear that with Capo Di Famiglia II, these two are not filmmakers content with simply resting on their laurels, instead trying at all times to push their story and its characters into new and exciting territories and they do so here with aplomb.
Of course, a lot of what drove much of the success of the first film is still there, but every facet of the filmmaking process feels like it’s been consciously and remarkably taken to the next level. As was the case with the first film, Capo Di Famiglia II is at times actually stunning to look at, the use of colour and lighting in particular working wonders to accentuate the films fluctuating mood and tone. There is also still the indelible sense of drama and intrigue which served the first film so well, but here its allowed to take us in new directions and give the films well-written characters a well of nuance and depth.
An again, much like the first film, those characters are safely placed in the hands of a host of fine acting talent that really bring each unique player in this tale of relentless twists and turns to life. There are a couple of substitutions, most notably Giulia Dunes who takes over from Nastassia Firestone as Vincent’s wife and while Firestone certainly excelled then, it is a role that itself has differed a great deal here and Dunes’ fills every space of a character that now carries the majority of the films emotional heft. Mohr himself has managed over both parts to fully showcase not only his immense writing talent, but also incredible acting versatility, the darker parts of Vincent that were only just coming to the surface in part one are fully exposed here, and Mohr’s performance really embodies the weight of a man burdened by immense expectation and responsibility.
Capo Di Famiglia II is a fine example of using strong foundations to make something even bigger, bolder and better. If Mohr and Libbers can do it again like we expect they can, part three should be incredible.