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Fists in the Pocket (1965)

I pugni in tasca (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 27 May 1968 (USA)
A young man takes drastic measures to rid his dysfunctional family of its various afflictions.

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4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Marino Masé ...
Augusto
Liliana Gerace ...
Madre
Pier Luigi Troglio ...
Leone
Jeannie McNeil ...
Lucia
Irene Agnelli ...
Bruna
Celestina Bellocchio ...
Ragazza alla festa
Stefania Troglio ...
Cameriera
Gianni Schicchi ...
Tonino
Alfredo Filippazzi ...
Dottore
Gianfranco Cella ...
Ragazzo alla festa
Lella Bertante
Sandra Bergamini
Mauro Martini ...
Ragazzo
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Storyline

Alessandro, a young epileptic with paranoid inclinations, decides to relieve Augusto, the only sound brother, from the burden of a numerous family plagued with hereditary diseases. After a first aborted attempt, the dreadful series of accidents/murders is started by pushing the blind mother into a ravine. Then comes the turn of Leone, the idiotic brother. Will Alessandro be able to bring to completion his obsessive project ? Written by Stefano Cristiani <cristiani@astrpd.pd.astro.it>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 May 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fist in His Pocket  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Marco Bellocchio borrowed money from his family to be able to make this film, which is actually a frontal assault on family values. See more »

Goofs

When the whole family is having dinner, Augusto is seated at one corner of the table and the mother is sitting on a side at the other corner. The cat is shown to be eating meat off the mother's plate in one scene, but in the next scene Augusto is shown picking up the cat as if was right next to him on the table. Once he removes the cat, the next camera angle again shows Augusto and the mother at opposite ends. See more »

Quotes

Alessandro: I'm a volcano of ideas.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Happy New Year (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark and wonderful
15 October 2015 | by See all my reviews

The Sixties was a time of breaking rules and exploring social themes and political ideas that weren't allowed to be expressed in the repressive Fifties. It was a Golden Era of Italian cinema, producing Antonioni's, Visconti's and Fellini's best films, along with so many gems like Olmi's "Il Posto", Germi's "Divorce: Italian Style" and Monicelli's "The Organiser." "Fists in the Pocket" stands out for its dark subject matter, which examines the mind of a sociopath.

While this was not new ground—Clouzot's "Diabolique", Clement's "Purple Noon", Powell's "Peeping Tom" and Hitchcock's more lurid "Psycho" allowed us into the head of a killer—"Fists in the Pocket" portrays a much more nuanced character. What those films don't spend a lot of time on is the motivation behind their characters' actions, outside of their own amoral nature or perhaps some hinted trauma. In this film, while we certainly don't sympathise with the characters' actions, we clearly understand their motivations.

The protagonist of the film is Sandro, but I'd argue that the main character is the family, since it's the family dynamic that drives all action in the film. Sandro and two of his three siblings have varying degrees of epilepsy, and all three grown children live with and care for their blind mother. There's a definite sense of claustrophobia and dread in this family, who all seem trapped by their own love for each other. Their desire to break free of their mother's control and the burden of caring for each other leads to plans being hatched and tragic consequences.

It's quite an oddball story, almost Lynchian, but what makes the characters so utterly believable is the unpredictability of their behaviour, along with some excellent acting, particularly by Lou Castel, who allows us to see into his mind without saying a word. Add to that a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone and absolutely sublime photography—it's one of those rare films where you can frame almost every shot—and you've got one of the standout films from a standout period of filmmaking.


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