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The post-apocalyptic thriller Mondocane looks like Mad Max meets City of God

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The near-future Italian drama is coming to theaters May 20

Kino Lorber has launched the first trailer for its upcoming post-apocalyptic thriller Mondocane, and it’s the kind of movie that will immediately having cinephiles drawing comparisons to past favorites.

The synthy, intense soundtrack is pure John Carpenter. Writers who got a look at the film during 2021’s Venice Critics’ Week compared it to Blade Runner and Mad Max for its grimy futurism, and Lord of the Flies and Oliver Twist for its setup, which has a gang leader ruling over a fenced-in town, backed by a gang of semi-feral adolescent boys. Heck, there’s even a little of Pixar’s Luca in the portrait of two young Italian boys trying to find a place in a fantasy-tinged world, while navigating their separate feelings around their friendship and the girl in their lives.

But the strongest comparison here may be to Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s stellar 2002 drama City of God, which similarly features rivalries, tensions, and personal history among a group of young people growing up wild and competing for positions in the local criminal underground. Mondocane’s opening trailer introduces two 13-year-old boys on the outskirts of the local gang, the Ants, which pushes them past their comfort zones and into acts of violence that will define what kind of men they want to be. From Kino Lorber’s summary:

Set in a not-too-distant future where the coastal Italian city of Taranto has become a toxic wasteland ruled by warring gangs, MONDOCANE follows best friends Pietro and Cristian as they initiate into the Ants, a local gang of kids and teens ruled by the iron fisted Fagin-esque leader Hothead. As the friends fight to prove their loyalty to Hothead and compete for the attention of a local girl, their friendship is called into question, building to a startling and violent confrontation that forces the boys to choose a side. It’s an incredibly stylish film anchored by strong performances from a few talented young Italian actors, with shades of the dystopia evoked by Mad Max and Lord of the Flies.

Mondocane will be in theaters on May 20, with a digital/VOD release planned for June 7.

The poster for Mondocane, with a threatening male figure hovering in the sky over two adolescent boys picking their way through wreckage Image: Kino Lorber

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