Rocco and His Brothers Screen 10 articles

Rocco and His Brothers

1960

Rocco and His Brothers Poster
  • This looks like a primary sourcebook for the overheated operatic styles, homoerotic intensity, quasi-incestuous delirium, and casual conceptual misogyny of Scorsese, Coppola, and Cimino—and you may have to value the ranker elements of those filmmakers more highly than I do to consider this precursor more than a mannerist touchstone.

  • Visconti's primary achievement is structural. Rocco's quintet of chapters leapfrog from one of five southern brothers to another as the family attempts to survive the hardships of post-war Milan, all the while maintaining a forward narrative flow. But the story itself is scattershot (often, the brothers don't know what the others do for a living, though they all live together in one room), the extroverted Italian acting is unharnessed, and the characters inhabit predictable lives.

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    Sight & Sound: Philip Kemp
    March 04, 2016 | April 2016 Issue (p. 101, 103)

    The tussle between neorealism and quasi-operatic melodrama that runs through so much of Visconti's work reaches it apogee in the near-on three hours of Rocco and His Brothers...If there's a prime weakness, it focuses on Delon; not only does Rocco seem too virtuous to be true, but the actor's refined good looks make him an unlikely peasant, and downright unconvincing as the champion boxer he becomes.

  • There's a grey conviction about much of the scene-setting and the location shooting, but the film gathers interest as it escalates into melodrama; the tragic climax is pure opera. Delon is unconvincing as the saintly Rocco, but Renato Salvatori makes the thuggish elder brother who falls in with a gay boxing promoter his best part ever.

  • Luchino Visconti provides a visually adept, insightful, and harshly realistic social commentary in Rocco and His Brothers... The final scene shows young Luca visiting Ciro at the assembly plant. It is a realization of his own hopes apart from his mother's wishes - a resigned acceptance that the Parondi dream and bond of family are forever lost.

  • Looked at today, Rocco’s essaying of heroic tropes is particularly trenchant as a dark, devastating critique of masculinity.

  • What tended to do [Visconti] in was tastefulness, and thankfully ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS is tasteless and the better--and freer--for it; it has neither the tastefulness of being short (it's almost three hours long), nor the tastefulness of being melancholic, nor even the tastefulness to restrain Visconti's decadent fetishization of impoverished toughness... What he sets out to do in ROCOO AND HIS BROTHERS is subversive in its odd, aristocratic way: to create a beggar's opera.

  • The film is less progressive than L'Avventura; Antonioni's film insists that masculine hierarchies are the persona non grata of Western civilization, and have historically emptied cultures and societies of their potentially humanist convictions. Nevertheless, Visconti's points are just as vital, and his vision perhaps clearer, about violence being bred from systemic blind spots.

  • Rocco and His Brothers constitutes Visconti’s last tussle with neorealism. In its expansiveness and novelistic focus on character and environment at a time of national transition, it looks forward to his 1963 masterpiece The Leopard, but played for passionate intensity instead of a luxurious passivity.

  • Visconti’s smoldering neorealist epic—clearly an inspiration to Scorsese, from outstanding fight scenes and sibling tension to ominous storefronts and urban throngs, among others—follows the poor Sicilian Parondi family’s search for a better life in the northern Italian city of Milan.

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