In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period... See full summary »
The widow Rosaria moves to Milano from Lucania with her 4 sons, one of whom is Rocco. The fifth son, Vincenzo, already lives in Milano. In the beginning, the family has a lot of problems, but everyone manages to find something to do. Simone is boxing, Rocco works in a dry cleaners, and Ciro studies. Simone meets Nadia, a prostitute, and they have a stormy affair. Then Rocco, after finishing his military service, begins a relationship with her. A bitter feud ensues between the two brothers, which will lead as far as murder... Written by
Kornel Osvart <email@example.com>
I could kick myself for not having seen this film before now (on French Ontario television, in the shortened 168 minute French version). It is a wonderful Italian family epic explaining, in Marxist terms, the effect on a southern rural family of a move to the big northern city of Milan. The contrast between a violent brother (Simone) and his saintly counterpart (Rocco) gives rise to the tragedy which everybody else must pay for. The film has a great theme, great direction, great acting and a truly memorable and heart-rending score by Nino Rota. It reaches the heights of Shakespearean drama and of course outdoes it in realism. But what I discovered by seeing this film so late is that it is also partly responsible for the seedier aspects of the careers of Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola who naturally tried to emulate their hero Visconti by adapting his themes to American reality. This has unfortunately had the side-effect of creating a monster of a melodrama called "The Godfather" which became an ode to violence and organized crime and a boxing-themed film like "Raging Bull" which further contributed to lower the bar of graphic violence on the screen. Hell, Coppola even borrowed the services of Nino Rota for the film and its sequel... I admire "Rocco" but I still think the world would have been better off without "The Godfather" and "Raging Bull" (among other violent films of the second part of the last century). "Rocco" is available on DVD in America in its cut 168 minute Italian version in non-anamorphic widescreen (1.66:1) with English subtitles, which is unfortunate for us Francophones as the French version is just as legitimate as the Italian one and features Delon's, Girardot's, Salvatori's and Hanin's real voices. It deserves an uncut edition and the full Criterion treatment.
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