Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rocco and His Brothers

A brief early moment in Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers shows four of the five Parondi brothers gazing at the storefronts of Milan as they pass by in a trolley. They're dazzled by what they see but as time wears on, the bedazzlement fades away like the flame of a match.

Throughout their years in Milan, the brothers, mainly Rocco (Alain Delon) and Simone (Renato Salvatori), become deeply disillusioned by the lives they lead. They seek for meaning and find nothing. The brotherly become frayed (never severed though) and eventually they become violent.

A sport three of the brothers partake is boxing. In early Hollywood films, boxing was treated as an allegory for a character's battle with their conscience. It's fitting since the three brothers take up the sport when their personal lives take a downturn. It's sort of Visconti's homage to Hollywood's Golden Age.

In a similar vein to The Bicycle Thief, Rocco and His Brothers is an Italian neorealism film. The difference between the two films is that Rocco and His Brothers is a trifle more optimistic than The Bicycle Thief. Sure, the film shows some of the characters' plights, but what Visconti shows isn't as emotionally powerful as what De Sica showed. (A lot more risque in some scenes though.)

Rocco and His Brothers, though not as great as some of Visconti's other work, definitely gets its point across. Personally, Visconti was at his best when he made lavish epics like Senso and The Leopard, though he was also good when he toned down the extravagance. Shows the man had range.

My Rating: ****1/2

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