on 27 April 2008
Luchino Visconti is one of the great Italian directors whose career spanned everything from arguably the first neo-realist film ("Ossessione" made in the early 1940's) to his later more elaborate works (such as his great adaptation of Lampedusa's "The Leopard" and the extraordinary 4-hour "Ludwig" about the mad, misunderstood last King of Bavaria).
Visconti made this film in order to try and address the issue of the divide between the south and the north of Italy, but also (as the title hints) as a tribute to one of his favourite authors the German novelist Thomas Mann - the aforementioned title of "Rocco and his Brothers" echoes Mann's monumental biblical novel "Joseph and his Brothers", and the story of the decline of a family has some links to Mann's most famous novel "Buddenbrooks".
The film relates the fortunes of a family (a widowed mother and her 5 sons) who move from rural southern Italy to Milan and try to establish a new life in a strange city. Although it runs for nearly three hours (many of Visconti's movies are quite lengthy, and this is not the longest), the film enthrals because of great direction and performances (especially from Alain Delon in an early role as the eponymous brother, and Annie Girardot as the prostitute Nadia who has such a devasting effect on the family). Although no longer capable of provoking the scandal that accompanied its first release, there are several enormously powerful scenes here that have lost none of their shocking impact.
This is an excellent DVD release from the always reliable Masters of Cinema series - the film looks in great shape (unlike the previously very poor DVD transfers available) and is correctly presented, there is a substantial booklet with essays and interviews with Visconti, and a supplementary disk featuring some excellent subsidiary material (including an hour long RAI documentary on the life and work of Visconti, and a wonderful interview with Annie Girardot).
I can recommend Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's book on Visconti (now available in an updated edition) as an excellent companion to this film for anyone wanting to know more about Visconti, and Masters of Cinema have released a first-rate DVD presentation of another Visconti film "Bellissima".
on 16 March 2012
There are several versions of this film currently available; look no further, this is the one to buy. Restored here to it's orginal anamorphic ratio, this print offers excellent picture and sound quality. This release also offers the optional French language soundtrack where Alain Delon and Annie Girardot voice their own lines. The original soundtrack has them both overdubbed by Italian actors.
The film has two main themes: the influx of southern Italians to the north of the country, a controversial and emotive subject at the time, and betrayal.
Visconti wrote the film for Delon whose performance shows him to be much more than the pretty boy dismissed by critics and detractors. It does have to be said however that his extraordinary beauty is at times a distraction. This is one of the few films where Delon's role, as the eponymous Rocco, matches his angelic looks. Rocco is saintly, almost to the point of stretching credulity at one major point in the film.
This was an important film at the time and it has aged well. Much of the story is relevant today. All the actors play their parts convincingly. This two disc set has many worthwile extras including interviews with Annie Girardot and Claudia Cardinale, a 60 minute documentary on the life and work of Visconti and newsreel footage of film festivals of the period, and it comes with an informative booklet too.
I have seen this film retailing on the High Street at £21 and £26. The Amazon price is terrific value. Don't hesitate, buy this copy now!
on 12 June 2002
42 years later the quality of the Maestro can be seen in this film. Many people forget that Alain Delon was a HUGE star at the time (1960) and it shows. The story of these set of poor brothers and an intelligent camera - in more cases better than Vittorio da Sica - shows the powerty and hopes of the Post-war Italy. The most powerfull scene is when the mock rape occurs.
A end of unsolved questions and reflection time makes this film a classic.
on 10 December 2015
In almost every way, this is a Visconti masterpiece. My only reason for dropping a star is the utterly repellent depiction of the rape of a central character and the manner in which her suffering seems subservient to that of some of the male cast. It just didn't fit and the attempt to portray her abandonment by Delon as a Christ-like sacrifice was unconvincing to me. Indeed, it was repulsive and unforgivable.
However, it is, in so many other ways, a wonderful film. Visconti was a master. Just a shame about some of the narrative strands in this one...
"You should be able to say one thing with your eyes and, at the same time, another one with your mouth" , says Claudia Cardinale whilst she remembers Visconti talking to her about acting.
"Rocco and his Brothers " is a classic film that didn't age and is as strong today as it was 50 years ago.
After watching this 3 hours long film I decided not to watch the excellent extra features in the same day
because I didn't want to break that strange combination of emotions that one feels after watching a really good film.
It is a story of a mother and her five sons, like the five fingers of a hand, as Visconti said.
They leave Southern Italy looking for a better life in the industrialised Northen Italy from the late 50s
and early 60s. The brothers, especially two of them (Alain Delon as Rocco and Renato Salvatori) react in different ways to the "new world" of Northern Italy and tragedy unfolds.
Maybe I could say that the film is a combination of Greek tragedy and Biblical stories. One thing is for sure: It is a very strong, dramatic story told through beautiful images and good acting.
The dvd has excellent extra features, such as an interviews with Claudia Cardinale and the director of photography. The dvd has also a very interesting option for soundtracks. You can choose to watch either in French or Italian, as the original
film was released in both languages.
If you choose French, for example, you will hear Alain Delon and Annie Girardot, two out of the three main actors,
speaking in French instead of being dubbed in Italian.
I found the images are a little washed out and I had to change my tv's controls in order to improve the images. Eureka could have done better than this copy.
I was lucky to watch a brand new, restored copy of this film on a cinema screen.
It was screened in an Italian embassy, many years ago. I can still clearly remember how impressed I was with the quality of the images. It was only then that I realised that the so many black and white films I was watching in cinemas were
just a pale shadow of their original copies. The images of the copy of "Rocco and his brothers" that I watched in the embassy were very crisp and had an excellent contrast, despite being projected projected on a much bigger screen than a tv set...
The quality of images of this dvd is not poor at all but it is not excellent and it could be excellent. I know this for sure because of the fantastic quality of the copy I watched in the cinema many years ago. I guess that the dvd wasn't transferred from the best film copy available or it was just that Eureka didn't do a good transfer.
on 4 April 2016
A film of breathtaking beauty. By turns soulful, brutal and exhilarating. An epic story of family that lives in you long after you've watched it. Masterful, this is by far one of my favorite Luchino Visconti films (up there with with Death In Venice and The Leopard) . This transfer is the most complete version of the film ever released and it was supervised by its superb cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno. Both Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola owe a great deal of nods to Luchino Visconti. It's obvious he inspired both The Godfather and Raging Bull with this film!
Having seen this film once before (around 5 years ago) I recently bought the DVD for another viewing. This has convinced me that this film is a true masterpiece, which sustains attention over its near three hour duration.
Having a great love for all things Italian (and having worked for some time in Milan), this film captures the Italian (and Milanese) culture very effectively, from the extremely matriarchal society to the extreme passions of the Italian nature. The film centres on the Parondi family's move from southern Italy to the commercial and industrial powerhouse of Milan in a search of work and a future, and the cultural difficulties and prejudices that the Parondis face as a result.
Visconti depicts Milan as the rather dull industrial city that it is in superb black and white photography, with a highlight scene being that of Alain Delon and Annie Girardot trying to rekindle their love on the roof of the Milan duomo (cathedral). The cast are consistently superb with Girardot in particular being outstanding. The DVD extras (including interviews with Girardot and Claudia Cardinale, and a Visconti documentary) are all well worth a view.
All in all a classic film
Visconti's 1960 film is an epic 170-minute-long contemporary portrayal of a family of five brothers moving with their mother to Milan from the rural south of Italy. Indeed, the opening scene sees the family arrive at Milan's railway station as part of that strong but intermittent migration of Italians to the industrial north in search of jobs and a better style of living.
It is one of those riveting epic Italian films of family, ostensibly focussing on each of the five brothers in turn: Vicenzo (the fiancé who made the trip in advance and intends to marry Ginetta, played by a young Claudia Cardinale); Simone (the boxer, an unredeemable thief and murderer), Rocco (the soldier, a drifter through life, a dreamer and romantic); Ciro (the engineer, level-headed, hard-working, conforming readily to the ethical norms of their new home); and Luca (the youngest, the one who witnesses, the one who also represents the future - indeed, the film's final frame sees him running into the distance).
By trying to address each brother in turn, the film ensures it is something more than a family soap opera, but inevitably each brother's life affects those of the others, and so what we end up with is a more or less seamless mesh of family ups and downs. Fraternal loyalties are tested to extreme degrees in their new urban environment. The centre of the film revolves around the relationship between the proud and reckless Simone (Renato Salvatore) and the selfless and pretty Rocco (Alain Delon) and their tussle over the flirtatious Nadia (Annie Girardot). The tussle leads to a tragic denouement played out in a brutally operatic style at the film's end. This scene is the only real element of melodrama in what is mostly a film of realism.
The film was groundbreaking for many of the actors involved, especially Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale. As in many (most?) of Visconti's films, I felt that there was an unspoken homoerotic element, in this case that of Rocco for his elder brother Simone. No matter what physical or emotional brutality Simone inflicted on Rocco (and others), Rocco was always ready to forgive and assist.
A Franco-Italian production, the sound options are either Italian or French dub, but both with English subtitles. In the original Italian, both Alain Delon and Annie Girardot had their voices dubbed, as well as the mother Rosaria, played by Greek actor Katina Paxinou. Where there are long scenes between Delon and Girardot, I found myself slipping easily between the Italian and French versions; this was also useful where strong emotions were at play.
This is a review of the Masters of Cinema release of this film. It comes with an informative forty-page booklet with articles by Guido Aristarco and Luchino Visconti himself from the January 1961 edition of the journal `Films & Filming', and an interview with Visconti originally published in the April 1961 edition of the French journal `Cinema'. In the latter, Visconti explains why Rocco is the name in the film's title instead of one of the other brothers. "Rocco's drama is ... double because in addition to his own suffering, he takes upon himself the misery of every other member of his family." He goes on to say that, "I had no intention ... of treating this film as a melodrama; for me, it is a realistic fantasy."
The Masters of Cinema release has a second DVD chock-a-block with other extras. These comprise two short film newsreels from 1960, including the marriage of Renato Salvatore to Annie Girardot; a trailer; a sixteen-minute 2003 French documentary featuring Claudia Cardinale that covers the making of the film; interviews with the cinematographer (1999, 27 minutes), Annie Girardot (2003, 23 minutes), and Claudia Cardinale (1999, 23 minutes); and an hour-long documentary (1999) on the director himself, produced by RAI and which gives a concise overview of his life and works. All in all, then, a very full package indeed.
on 7 November 2012
The film "Rocco And His Brothers" (1960) is a grandeur film as well as the 35mm restoration and fully uncut. The film restoration has been transferred to DVD in its original aspect ratio 1.80:1, a very rarely aspect ratio, anamorphic. It has a 40 page booklet plus a 2nd DVD for special features. The DVD has two different soundtracks that were created for the film in 1960: One in Italian for the Italian Cinema, and one in French for the cinemas in France. However, the film was distributed to Europe, North America, Central America, South America,and Cuba with the Italian soundtrack as the default with corresponding subtitles to each country and regions."Rocco And His Brothers" (1960) EUREKA! The Masters of Cinema Series.
on 4 January 2013
An old italian drama filmed in Milan . Beautiful , perfect. In Italian with subtitles. Alain delon was at the start of his career.
Claudia Cardinale . Its about the southern Italians moving to Milan to find a job, full of dreams and hope.