Donne di Mafia / Mafia Women

Mini film festival.

23 & 24 April 2024.

3 films exploring female agency within the Italian underworld. Secure your spot now for an engaging cinematic experience.

Black Souls

A tale of a Calabrian criminal

Burning Hearts

Forbidden love and family rivalry


A teenager's destiny is altered when a circus comes to town

Cinema ItaliaUk’s mini film festival Donne di Mafia, will be leaving London for the first time this year, and the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution are delighted to be hosting it as part of a new departure put together for their Bicentenary celebrations.

Nevia, the début feature of Nunzia De Stefano, draws on De Stefano’s recollections of the decade she spent in the Marianella container park outside Naples, and explores if indeed the worst fate anyone can have is to be born a girl, or whether transcendence from your circumstances is not only possible, but an integral part of growing up. The fact that Nevia’s conduit to maturity is by way of the circus makes the narrative all the more promising.

Black Souls (Anime Nere), directed by Francesco Munzi is a classic tale of revenge. Operating against a Calabrian backdrop, rival gangs now find themselves entangled with powerful South American crime groups in the most destructive of ways.

At heart a story of three brothers, Black Souls is a film that covers all the widely recognisable masculine tropes and rituals of classic Italian cinema, but treads new ground by questioning the corrosive nature and consequences of that masculinity.  Will only the total extinction of all men within his family end the crushing lineage of violence that has brought Rocco to misery, or is there another more hopeful way?

Stay Behind, the featured short by Federica Schiavello, follows the travails of Antonella, the stories main protagonist and the hidden figure of ‘Stay Behind’, a secret operation against the communist threat, founded by NATO and the CIA. This small piece of cinematic joy is based on true events and explores the intrinsic links that existed between the Mafia, and the wider Italian body politic until 1993.

In addition to the screening of the films themselves, integral to the festival are some chaired panel discussions and audience Q&A’s designed to leave even the most armchair of Cinéastes with a taste for the flavour of Italian cinema.