‘Rocco & His Brothers’

Something of a classic from Italian auteur Luchino Visconti (Death In Venice, The Leopard) as the Parondi family, following the death of the patriarch, move from rural southern Italy to the industrial north and the city of Milan.

Told in a series of stanzas accorded to each brother, the grainy black and white social realism of the feature is deeply effective as Rocco (Alain Delon – The Godson, The Leopard) confronts city life, family pressures and love for prostitute, Nadia (Annie Girardot – The Piano Teacher, Hidden). The fact she is also the object of desire of his wayward, crime-involved brother Renato Salvatori (Z, Queimada) drives a deep wedge into family life.

For the first two or so hours of this almost three hour film, Rocco & His Brothers is a gutsy, brooding slow build of a superb, character-driven feature. But, sadly, as it moves towards its inevitable confrontation, the film occasionally slips into melodramatic hysteria.

Rating: 74% (90% for the first two hours!)

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