A masterpiece of world cinema, a deeply profound and immensely beautiful work, featuring a formidable cast
Today, Rocco e i suoi fratelli is considered one of the masterpieces of world cinema. And yet during filming and following its release, it was attacked in every way possible by those in power. So much so that it became an issue of contention throughout Italian public life. In a highly politicised atmosphere, Visconti felt the need to take a deeper, clearer look at the radical changes taking place in Italian society. Based on a story by author Giovanni Testori, and finding further inspiration in the works of Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky and Verga, the film distils melodrama into its purest form, radically renews the lessons of neorealism, and constructs a tragedy in five acts. The narrative that bursts forth from all of this, is that of a family destroying itself and of an Italy tearing itself apart through internal emigration from South to North, notwithstanding the “economic miracle”. It is a deeply profound and immensely beautiful work, supported by a formidable cast.
The story of five brothers from the Lucania region of Southern Italy who have emigrated to Milan with their mother. The family unity is torn apart under the pressures of their new life. Simone, the most troublesome brother, kills Nadia, a prostitute who was his lover before starting a relationship with brother Rocco, a boxer with high hopes. Simone ends up in jail, despite attempts by the family to protect him. All except for Ciro, who believes that the road to redemption is that of an honest worker.