Wednesday, May 22, 2013

355. Rocco e i suoi fratelli

Rocco e i suoi fratelli
Rocco and His Brothers
Directed by Luchino Visconti

I am back from a month long hiatus, which came conveniently right after the 1950s Oscars, so we all got a nice break before we dive into the sixties.  I was in Maui, where I went in a helicopter, rode a horse, and sustained a serious sunburn that everyone and their mother had to comment on whenever they saw me.  It was a fun vacation but I missed these blogs and am glad to be back.

I look at the sixties like a fresh start for me and Italian films. We are finally saying goodbye to neorealism and honestly, I could not be happier.  However, this film failed to impress me and once again, I lose another chance at finding an Italian movie I like.

This film clocks in at around three hours and I was terribly bored the entire time.  I am in a weird mood today and would have liked to have watched a film that cheered me up or, at the very least, kept me entertained.  Unfortunately, this movie just followed the same despicable characters for three hours.

It would take me too long to write a summary, but here are a few "highlights".  Rocco and Simone fall in love with the same prostitute and Simone ends up raping her.  I guess that means he won, because Rocco then gives her up.  Lovely.  The film makes up for though by having terrible actors.

So boring and disturbing.  I had to double check to see if I was watching Fellini film.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

One of Francis Ford Coppola's favorite films.

Footage was cut for US release since it was deemed too violent.


  1. I didn't like this movie either and it wasn't because it was boring. It's because it is outright misogynistic. The conversation in which Rocco blames Nadia for being raped is disgusting. All the movie is oriented toward making the point that "Simone was a good and sensible guy but the town corrupted him -- i.e. Nadia corrupted him". A textbook case of Victim Blaming.

    You know, I actually like Visconti. Ossessione and Senso are great films, full of passion and sensuality. But this is rather dull and overlong. It mixes the worst parts of European cinema and Hollywood's melodrama and I didn't find anything really worthy or relevant.

    Again, this is just my opinion. I know the status of this film out there. However, I find rather significative of the kind of society we live in that almost no professional critic has said anything about the rape scene and its consequences.

  2. So many of these movies are misogynistic that I have lost track. I hope for your sake you haven't seen Irreversible yet (although I suppose it's better for you to get it over with).

  3. no, no yet. now I have another one to be afraid of in the horizon :S ;P

  4. The problem, I think, with Rocco and His Brothers is that it is a film made for Italians. There are so many references to life and the political situation in Italy that would resonate with an Italian, but fly completely over our heads. Not to mention those very Italian cultural traits (the screaming,dominating mother, the machismo, the family traditions etc.) that just do not work for viewers outside that cultural frame.
    I was flabbergasted and confused through much of the movie and rather annoyed with some of the choices Visconti made to prove his points. It just gets so stupidly artificial.

  5. I took a few weeks break after completing the 1950s as well. Didn't ride a horse though.

    Site stuff: I like that this blog and its followers are happy to share opinions, disagree but never tell each other that they're wrong. Amanda didn't like it; more power to her. Superqueen did like it; more power to her/him. FF Coppola really liked it; even more power to him. What's there to argue about?

    Film stuff: I really like this. Flagged a little around the two-hour mark perhaps, but was otherwise powerful and compelling throughout. I didn't think Nadia was supposed to be at fault for any of it, least of all what happened to her. She was just a victim of life/the city in general and of Simone in particular.

    Whether Simone was an inherently bad egg or just didn't have the strength of character to avoid becoming another victim of the big city seemed ambiguous. Most of the family thought the latter, but at the end one of them who disagreed says that it's a delusion to think that everything would be great if only they could have stayed in their village.

    I definitely agree with TS that this is a film made for Italians (and FF Coppola comes from a family of Italian immigrants). Right from the opening shot of Milan Centrale station I was thinking of how the image of the long distance trains from the south bringing economic migrants is so evocative in Italian culture.

    Dialogue stuff: I despair that it was still the practice in Italian cinema then to over-dub all dialogue. But I happily note that you hardly notice this when your eyes are on the subtitles at the bottom of the screen at those moments.