Only 3 episodes of Hit Me With Your Best Shot left and here's one of the three! Please join us with your own "best shot" choices for Aliens (July 13th) and Rebel Without a Cause (July 20th) as we close out the second season in the next two weeks.
Those films will be easier tasks than Luchino Visconti's ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (1960), mostly because they're more familiar properties. Visconti offers up so much to ponder in his novelistic film that one viewing might not suffice.
Rocco and His Brothers, which charts the sad aspirational lives of the Pardoni family -- they're country boys who move to the big city (Milan) -- is structured loosely by chapters named after and focusing on each brother from eldest to youngest: Vincenzo (Spiros Focás), Simone (Renato Salvatori), Rocco (Alain Deloin), Ciro (Max Cartier) and Luca (Rocco Vidolazzi). But this family is so codependent that that shifting narrative focus wouldn't be all that obvious without the title cards.
In fact, the brothers are rarely separated physically. They sleep in the same rooms, chase the same dreams (boxing), train and shower together, and even share women (albeit tragically). Visconti often films them in clumps, particularly in the first chapter, as the entire Pardoni family moves to Milan on the night of the engagement party of the eldest son.
They're never separated emotionally, as in this late shot in the film, when Rocco struggles to make a toast and the weight of his entire family hangs over him -- quite literally given the set decoration!
Rocco is a fascinating lead character because he's held up as an ideal in some respects being loyal, hard-working, and unencumbered by greed... but his tragic flaw is his own saintly martyrdom. The patriarch of the Pardoni clan is dead before the film begins (the matriarch is still wearing black) but he left five sons behind. You'd never know it from Rocco's savior complex. Does he fancy himself "the only begotten" what with the way he continually lays down his own blood, body, spirit and dreams for his wayward brother?
But Rocco is no Christ. His love for his fellow man, or at least this one brother Simone, is so great that it's actually sinful. And it's not his own life he is willing to sacrifice but his woman's, Nadia's (a terrific Annie Girardot who you'll remember as Isabelle Huppert's crazy mother in The Piano Teacher).
Which is why the following two shots moved me the most.
Midway through the film Rocco dumps Nadia for love of his brother Simone (if Rocco and His Brothers weren't already considered a classic film, it'd have to be considered at least a classic soap opera) but his tears are impotent and this generosity of spirit hugely conditional since Nadia isn't exactly getting a good deal. In the end, it's Nadia who has to be crucified and she's not the one with the savior complex.
Nathaniel and His Blog Brothers...
Thanks to the following who also watched the movie for this Hit Me episode. Go read this great posts.
- My New Plaid Pants Hot Bros Before Hos
- Movies Kick Ass Iconic Roles
- Film Actually The Seductress
- Awww The Movies loved the movie, too