Rocco and His Brothers – Luchino Visconti (1960)


“Luchino Visconti arguably founded the Italian neorealist movement with his brooding Ossessione in 1943, yet the great heyday of that important school was gone when he premiered Rocco and His Brothers at the Venice Film Festival in 1960. There’s a little irony in this, since Rocco and His Brothers and its 1948 predecessor La terra trema fall more comfortably under the neorealist rubric than most other Visconti films, which tend to be more sweeping, romantic, and operatic than the label ordinarily implies. And even the bracingly raw Rocco and His Brothers has artificial elements aplenty, as attested by extras in Milestone’s new Blu-ray edition of the picture. Conceived as a sort of semi-sequel to La terra trema, which was shot in a Sicilian fishing village with a wholly nonprofessional cast, Rocco and His Brothers was made in a very different manner—penned by half a dozen writers, acted by stars-in-the-making Alain Delon, Annie Girardot, and Claudia Cardinale, and photographed largely on manufactured sets. It’s a lasting tribute to Visconti, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, and other members of the creative team that an unblinking sense of moment-to-moment verisimilitude shimmers through scene after scene, punctuated with enough grim violence to set the censors squawking even before its official debut. Rocco and His Brothers grew from Visconti’s wish to explore the vicissitudes of a poor family that migrates from Lucania in the rural south to Milan in the industrialized north, looking for a more prosperous life. He and his writers elaborated on this theme by borrowing from ancient and modern literary sources. One was the story of Joseph and his brothers, as found in the Old Testament rather than Thomas Mann’s 1933–43 novel, despite Visconti’s strong interest in the latter. Another was Fyodor Dostoevsky’s towering 1869 novel The Idiot, in which the inexperienced Myshkin and the beautiful Nastasya have a deep and complex relationship. The influence of the biblical story is clear from Visconti’s title, and the Dostoevsky characters underlie the figures of Simone Parondi (Renato Salvatori), the second-oldest brother, and Nadia (Girardot), a prostitute loved by Simone and the slightly younger Rocco (Delon) in the film. …”
Cineaste
W – Rocco and His Brothers
senses of cinema
The Crossroads of Reality and Melodrama in ‘Rocco and His Brothers’
Roger Ebert
amazon
YouTube: Rocco and his Brothers – Official Trailer

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