Having recently been uprooted to Milan, Rocco and his four brothers each look for a new way in life when a prostitute comes between Rocco and his brother Simone.Having recently been uprooted to Milan, Rocco and his four brothers each look for a new way in life when a prostitute comes between Rocco and his brother Simone.Having recently been uprooted to Milan, Rocco and his four brothers each look for a new way in life when a prostitute comes between Rocco and his brother Simone.
The most important thing that drew my attention in ROCCO E I SUOI FRATELLI was the wide range of life situations, themes and feelings which one can enumerate endlessly. The viewer is truly given an insight into profound development of charming affection, bitter humiliation, outrageous mockery, sweet desire, wretched rivalry, Utopian idealism, cruel vengeance, sad disappointment, intense sorrow, indefatigable disillusion, upsetting despair directing themselves towards final hope. By analyzing the content and trying to identify with the characters (note that it is not "observing" the characters but "identifying" with them like in classic Greek tragedies), the viewers dive into life situations which, at the same time, can be present in their own experiences: family ties, unemployment, social status, honor, social pressure, plotting, crimes...are they not all up to date now as they were in 1960? But this aspect cannot be separated from the characters.
CHARACTER ANALYSIS. Rocco (Alain Delon) is an idealist, a very good person but too noble to succeed in this world. He appears to be a sort of biblical king David whose pardoning and love lead him to omit the teaching example and forget those who really care for him. His brother Ciro (Max Cartier), however, is a good realist who knows what the family means, how it matters; yet, who does not ignore the purifying punishment for wickedness. He seems to be as good hearted as Rocco; however; his mind is indeed more "earthly." He heads for goodness filled with honest intentions but keeping both feet firmly on the ground. Vincenzo is most individual and, thanks to getting married, most separated from the family. The "villain" brother is Simone (Renato Salvatori) who becomes a successful boxer but gradually turns to declining psychological strength poisoned by desire, jealousy and vengeance. In between comes a poor mother Rosaria Parondi (Katina Paxinou) who copes with true psychological suffering of lost hope and humiliation. An interesting character is a "fallen woman" Nadia (Annie Girardot) who is as changeable and as romantic as a classical tragic female in her dreams but down to earth and desperate in her acts. When it seems possible for her to fulfill the dreams of a better life, it is too late...
There is so much profoundity and complexity in the movie that one could dwell in the themes for long. However, let me focus on the ARTISTIC FEATURES of the movie, too.
Visconti's movie is a very valuable cinematic work with truly stunning cinematography, perfect direction, excellent script, wonderful moments. Anyone who decides to see this film should not ignore three moments that appear to be the milestone of film's harmony. The first one is Rocco and Nadia on the top of Milanese cathedral where she opens her psyche to him and, at the same time, his reaction is like a great blow of individual reality affecting the mutual one: "We'll never meet again" The second moment is the scene when all the family except for Simone celebrate Rocco's championship in boxing. The two bells that ring: the first one being a mysterious visit, the second one being Simone's entrance leave critical thoughts and conclusions. The third is the final moment when Ciro talks to their youngest brother Luca about life, future, and errors that should never be made again. However, that is not all. There is something more that makes Visconti's film an artistic pearl, PERFORMANCES.
All cast do excellent jobs portraying their characters in a genuine way with a necessary invitation for viewers to identify. Alain Delon is unforgettable as Rocco: gentle, kind hearted, sometimes weak, sometimes very straightforward in personal decisions. The opposite counterpart appears to be Renato Salvatori who perfectly portrays Simone - so wild, so tremendously unstable, so easily led to fear, addiction and tragic despair. Another performance that deserves appreciation is Katina Paxinou's in the role of mother Rosaria: religious with a bit of superstition, so dominant over her sons, and generally so good hearted. A mention should be made of a minor role of Claudia Cardinale who plays Ginetta, Vincenzo's wife.
ROCCO E I SUOI FRATELLI is a must see, a movie that everyone should watch profoundly addressing three levels of attention: first, a sole interest in Visconti being one of Neorealist directors aside DeSica, Rossellini and others; second, the artistic side including cinematography, direction, charm, performances; third, insight into both content and characters, their realistic complexity, humanity of life. Then, these three hours of watching will not occur in vain.
- Jul 6, 2008