Thursday, October 10, 2019


Renato Salvatori and Alain Delon 
in Rocco and His Brothers

Rocco and His Brothers is Luchino Visconti's contemporary drama about five brothers who move from poor Southern Italy to the North with their widowed mother and attempt to find some measure of success in life there. The movie is divided under five chapters, named for each of the brothers. The primary fraternal relationship of the story does seem to revolve around the hot-tempered second brother, Simone Parondi (Renato Salvatori) and the almost saintly third brother Rocco Parondi (Alain Delon). This is an epic and beautifully layered film that develops the relationships quite compellingly. It  is most deserving of being on a must-watch list and is quite gripping throughout its three hour running time.

Claudia Cardinale in Rocco and His Brothers

Claudia Cardinale Alert: Earlier in the life of this blog, I pointed out that Claudia Cardinale had appeared in many more "1001 movies" than her more famous contemporary, Sophia Loren. I actually missed that Claudia had a supporting role as the wife of the eldest brother in Rocco and His Brothers. I'll remember never to sell Claudia short again.

Nino Rota musical alert: Composer Nino Rota is most famous to many of us for his Godfather score. I can hear occasional reminders of the music of that film in Rota's score for Rocco and His Brothers.

Phillipe Noiret (Raffaele) and Michele Placido (Nicola)
in Three Brothers

We are also dealing with three Italian siblilngs in Francesco Rosi's Three Brothers (I prefer the Italian title, Tre Fratelli). Unlike, Rocco and His Brothers, the storyline for Three Brothers begins with the death of the matriarch, not the patriarch of the family. The tre fratelli come to be there for their father. We have the older Raffaele, who is an important judge presiding over a terrorism case. The younger brother Nicola, is a militant factory worker coming off a divorce. The middle son is named Rocco (And ode to the earlier film perhaps?). Rocco is the most enigmatic of the three and runs a boy's correctional institute. The relationship between the three is the heart of the film. Raffaele is a reluctant public figure, in that his dealings with prosecuting certain criminal figures may be putting his life in danger. Nicola is the emotional one, who holds nothing back and often suffers in his personal relationships. Rocco is the most reserved of the three. Nicola grills Rocco at one point in the film as to why he never has seems to have a girlfriend, naturally implying that he may be homosexual. This is a strong family drama and I think it makes a pretty good double feature with Rocco and His Brothers...
Brothers Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio) and Matteo (Alessio Boni) 
look after mental patient Giorgia (Jasmine Trinca)

...Check that...We're going to have to make that a triple feature! The Best of Youth is an Italian drama from 2003 that was originally made as a mini-series, but did have a theatrical release at the time in two parts. The six-plus hour running time is honestly the main reason I put this one off until now. The main focus of the story is...two brothers! The story begins in 1966 and runs all the way until 2003. This big story does not lend itself to a concise plot summary, but the story of Matteo, Nicholas, their family, friends, loves, a mentally ill woman, politics and coping with death justifies its running time and was well worth my time.

Matteo and Nicola with their shared love 
Mirella (Maya Sansa)

Da questo giorno in poi fino alla fine dei tempi, senza che ci si ricordi: noi pochi, noi pochi felici, siamo una...banda di fratelli.
-William Shakespeare


  1. I was not terribly happy with Rocco and his Brothers. Something felt a bit off.

    Anyway, turns out I have a dropbox. If you send an email to me at I can share Keeper of Promises with you.