Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli) Reviews
I hated not just the character of Simone (Renato Salvatori), but how director Luchino Visconti shows women succumbing to him after he forces himself on them - the old 'no means yes' - and not just with the prostitute/girlfriend (Annie Girardot), but with the laundress before her. While he is the 'bad guy' of the movie, the fact that his brothers accept his increasing violence towards women, and the film is essentially sympathetic to it, left a bad taste in my mouth. You could say it's all realistic in the way Zola's depictions of the lower classes were, not shying away from how cruel people can be, but Rocco's reaction seems especially ludicrous. His enabling of Simone is immoral if you think about it, yet he's held up by the movie to be a Christ-like figure.
Girardot plays tough, sassy, provocative, and yet vulnerable well, and was the highlight of the movie for me. There are several nice scenes, including one in which a group of young men stand in a field at night silently in shame, but the reason they're ashamed is very unpleasant to watch. The scenes with Girardot and Rocco (Alain Delon) on a streetcar and later on top of the cathedral in Milan are both beautiful. Seeing the 'common people' celebrating, with all of that energy and the silly toasts the brothers come up, is one that felt truly authentic. It also ended on a thoughtful note and nice final shot.
The five brothers seem to represent a family man, saint, sinner, pragmatist, and hope for the future, but they seemed a little like caricatures to me. The older brother's part is superfluous (though because of it we do get to see Claudia Cardinale in the small role of his wife), and the many boxing scenes are silly. Paring these down considerably would have helped with the three hour run time, which feels like sprawling excess. It obviously has its place in film history, but there are better and more enjoyable ones to watch.
It is realist in its telling, and the tragedy came when they did not make Simone pay for his crimes. It also shows the Italian culture that wears their emotions on their sleeves. It was a bit long winded, despite this it was filled with truths, tragedy and beauty.
The film defines perfectly the italian personality, passionate and impulsive. The roles of the traditional Italian family are also well depicted. It's a sad drama, touching and and profoundly moving but some parts of the story are overacted and it may make the spectator unworried about the details.