Mimì – The Prince of Darkness, love, death and vampires in Naples. The film review

“See Naples and then die”, says the famous motto cited by Goethe in his travel notes dated 1787. But as the poster of the Bram Stoker’s Dracula designed by Francis Ford Coppola: “Love never dies”. SoIt’s Mimì – The Prince of Darkness (in Italian cinemas from Thursday 16 November) wanders through the alleys of Partenope to remind us that passion is immortal. And it certainly won’t be a cynical and violent world that stops a feeling capable of crossing the oceans of time. To quote the words of director Brando De Sica: “This is a film about the importance of dreams and escape from reality. A ballad of dreamers.”

Dracula according to Brando De Sica

Mimi – the prince of darkness is a journey that starts from Naples and ends in Codogno, a pleasant town in Lombardy. Mto The knight. Nicosia constant demonic or: Dracula in Brianza by Lucio Fulci doesn’t live here. For his feature film debut, after a long experience directing commercials and shorts, Brando De Sica shuns the parody and postmodernism of a work like Zora the vampire dand the Manetti Bros. and opts for the horror genre as a key to telling us the epic tale of a dropout from a drawing by Tim Burton. Mimì is a dreamer with deformed feet firmly planted on the clouds. A freak with a pure heart, aware like Nosferatu “that the lack of love is the cruelest and most abject of punishments”. An expert pizza chef, orphaned and bullied for his diversity, the young outcast finds his salvation in the rebellious Carmilla, a goth girl with dark eyes who believes she is a descendant of the fanged count. But the two teenagers will have to face the cruelties of the world and the ferocity of Bastianello (Giuseppe Brunetti), son of a Camorra boss, as well as a popular neo-melodic singer and his malevolent companion Rocco (Daniele Vicorito).

A horror film as tasty and rich as a “Cuoppo”

As inside the succulent “cuoppo”, the Neapolitan street food par excellence, Mimì – The prince of darkness mixes the most diverse ingredients. The Nosferatu by Murnau and Max Shreck, his sphinx-like protagonist and the legend that Vlad III of Slovakia, known as the Impaler who went down in history as the inspiration for the figure of Count Dracula, is buried inside the cloister of Santa Maria la Nova. From a reference to Lovecraft to a vigil in the company of the beggarly souls who populate the ossuary of the Fontanelle cemetery, the film plays with dark and horror suggestions without ever mentioning itself. Ultimately the film is a love letter to the Gothic and its branches. Between Ornella Vanoni who sangto Those Days with you, key piece of the soundtrack of the Fulcian cult You don’t torture a Paperinor, and Fabrizio De Andrè singing A judge, passing through Catari by Roberto Murolo, music seals this love story in which fear dances with desire, in an anthology of stolen kisses and sharp canines.

Domenico Cuomo and Sara Ciocca, adorable gothic couple

A singular tattoo artist who seems to have come out of an engraving by Goya. Elderly Neapolitan ladies intent on snorting loads of cocaine and a panting, intubated boss, a sort of male counterpart to Elena Markos, the black queen of Suspiria they are just some of the bizarre characters that populate an alchemical and esoteric but at the same time criminal and ferocious Naples. And while the TV broadcasts an unlikely commercial from the fortune teller on duty in which a toad transforms into a black-skinned prince, the protagonist (an excellent Domenico Cuomo, the Gianni Cardiotrap of the series Sea outside, crosses the fiery streets of a hostile metropolis aboard an apecar, as if it were a carriage straight out of the pages of Stoker’s novel. From the Piscina Mirabilis to the Certosa di San Martino, from Marechiaro to the Ponti Rossi district, the aspiring vampire (who recalls Charlot and Buster Keaton, but the hair is that of Timothée Chalamet) pursues the sorrowful Carmilla (Sara Ciocca, who, aside from the young age confirms herself as one of the most promising actresses in our country; just look I am the abyss). And without any fear of upsetting the viewer, the film offers us a splatter-filled ending. Wisdom, as we know, is in the blood, which here slurps like the celebrated Neapolitan ragù. In short, finally a local film that dares and sends political correctness into the attic. Perhaps the young Italian cinema was not dead but just fainted. And a vampire’s kiss awakened him, as we wait for the dawn of a new day.