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Foreign Films > Rocco And His Brothers (Luchino Visconti)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments My Friday night Cinementor has moved from Godard (though I still need to see LA CHINOISE) to Visconti. Next week will be THE LEOPARD followed by DEATH IN VENICE.
Damn...I freakin' love cinema, it makes me feel alive:)

ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (Luchino Visconti, 1960, Italy) Rocco believes that blood is indeed thicker than water or, more precisely, the corpse that haunts the water’s edge. Director Luchino Visconti dissects the Italian family and its deterioration amid the destitute and corrupt social system, a repressive regime where only the strong survive and a house divided must surely fall. He contrasts the nostalgia of the past with the drowning horrors of modernity, as Rocco’s family must leave behind the their rural existence and lose themselves in the big city. Visconti’s cinematic structure walks the line between Italian Neo-Realism and melodrama, and it’s the strong performances from Alain Delon and Annie Girardot that fuel the pathos, that reflect the grim sacrifice upon the dark mirrored lake, like polluted shadows obscured by mists of madness. The narrative is divided into five sections, one for each brother, but it’s really the story of Simone and Rocco, and their pervasive self-destructive conflict that threatens the matriarchal family. Simone is a punk, a small-time loser who makes Jake LaMotta look like a good guy, a boxer who also “coulda been a contenda” but gives into his vices and greed, living a brief life on his small talent. Though he discards Nadia like rubbish, Rocco eventually falls in love with her and they suffer a torrid affair. But Simone assaults his brother and rapes Nadia, reclaiming his property by force. As Nadia purposely poisons Simone’s life, Rocco begins his rise to fame as a world-class boxer; he hates his brother (and still loves Nadia) but makes the sacrifice in hopes of saving the family unit. Finally, Simone’s last desperate act cuts the family to pieces but Rocco forgives him, focusing his anger and impotence into the boxing ring where he remains champion. But it’s another brother who turns Simone over to the authorities, who dutifully upholds the humanist morality, and passes this secret like a soft whisper of reason to the youngest sibling. (A)

message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5321 comments I saw this one a few years ago at a rep house and enjoyed it a good deal, and was thinking of taking another look. I'm assuming you saw it on DVD, how was it in terms of picture, etc.?

message 3: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Tom, my friend owns the IMAGE dvd and the quality is quite awful: the contrast is spotty and some dark scenes just blend into the abyss...and not just metaphorically. If you have a region free player, get the Masters Of Cinema edition from Amazon.UK which has the best image quality.

message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5321 comments Ugh, I don't have a region free player. C'est la vie. Maybe Criterion will do a version.

message 5: by Phillip (last edited Jan 12, 2009 05:38PM) (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments i have this on queue at netflix...looking forward. tom, it's available on netflix on a non-region free copy. you should be able to find it in nyc.

i'm a fan of visconti's work - you're in for a treat with the leopard, alex - a beautiful film and great performance by burt lancaster. i also recommend osessione (obsession - the seed for "the postman always rings twice"). it's been decades since i watched death in venice...i don't have clear memories of it. there was a visconti festival at pfa two years ago. there was another great film of his..a costume drama from the late 50's, gloriously shot in color-saturated hues. can't remember the name - i'll look it up and get back to you.

message 6: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Thanks Phillip! Since I don't live near cool theatres that show classic cinema....I had to build my own:) Anticipating THE LEOPARD this Friday on Ctiterion and expect it to look fantastic.
Tom, if you have a few bucks to spare (and who does these days?) a region free player can be snagged for under a hundred bucks. Just make sure it has a PAL converter: e-mail me if interested. This opens up all kinds of possibilities for your home viewing pleasure, like THE INNOCENTS from the UK: the image quality makes the US version look like watching a film through a dirty lens. The down side, the import discs with dollar conversion rates can be a bit pricey.

message 7: by Phillip (last edited Jan 12, 2009 10:38PM) (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments tom, i've seen region free dvd players for as low as $79

alex, you certainly put your home cinema to good use!

message 8: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments Just arrived, I will be watching it this weekend.

message 9: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments rocco and his brothers?

i had that really high on my netflix queue...not sure why it hasn't showed up in recent weeks.

message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments They mailed it to me instead. It was not my #1 and suddenly that one arrived. It was meant to be.

message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5321 comments I'm just not in a place where getting a region-free DVD player is an option, especially if I go Blu-Ray as I'm planning on doing, maybe, when they come down to the $100 range.

message 12: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments i purchased a nice flat screen recently that has HD. i still have my old dvd player, and friends have asked why i haven't upgraded to blu-ray. the image looks great - i don't see any real reason to upgrade at this point. HD kind of freaks me out - there's a little too much digital info on the screen for me. i'm the same with music recordings. i still listen to vinyl on my turntable and prefer it to CD...but of course i still listen to CDs.

meg, let us know what you thought of rocco...

message 13: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Mmmmm...vinyl......

message 14: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments right?

message 15: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I have an SACD player and just listened to some Dylan and the sound is a soft warm vibe...almost as good as 180g vinyl. Unlike the jagged shards of Cd sound which assault the ears. And don't even mention mp3 files, the dreck and dearth of great sounding music!

message 16: by Steve (new)

Steve | 957 comments You guys have a USB turntable? I got one a couple of years ago and have been "saving" my vinyl onto CD, mostly for back-up and for loading into iTunes so I can listen to it on the iPod because I commute to work via bus and train. I'm not a sound freak so I can't say if they perfectly replicates the sound of vinyl but worth looking into regardless.

message 17: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I loved this movie even though it was so darn long. The netflix quality is fine you don't have to worry Tom. This is such a deeply emotional movie, the actors are great. You will love the people you are supposed to love and hate those that you are supposed to hate. To watch the demise of Simone and Rocco is extremely well done. In the beginning it was hard to catch on to the speed of the dialogue but then you settle into it quickly. This is definitely a keeper.

message 18: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments this should show up fairly soon - it's up near the top of my queue, if i'm not mistaken. glad you liked it meg - visconti made some great films. if you liked this one, check out the leopard - an extraordinary film.

steve-o. no, my turntable is "old-fashioned...not usb.

message 19: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments sure, I will add that to the evergrowing queue

message 20: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Steve-O, alas, my turntable is a Technics with analogue connection through a seperate amp into my reciever. No USB. If you tranfer vinyl into a digital file you are actually degrading the sound. Probably not noticable when listening in your car or headphones, but through a nice home system the limits of the digital format are startling.

message 21: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments yikes...the difference between analog and digital. i've been playing with the lost trio for 16 years, we've made several records. we have always recorded in analog and transferred to digital in the mastering process (so the release can be produced on CD). but this last time we recorded in digital....damn, the record doesn't sound nearly as good as our other releases. live and learn...

message 22: by Phillip (last edited Mar 11, 2009 08:30AM) (new)

Phillip | 10511 comments i finally received rocco and his brothers from netflix. what an outstanding movie! it has the epic scope of something like the incredible story about a family struggling to put things together after their father dies and they move north (to the "modern" world of milan, after leaving the "old world" of the south).

unforgettable. i highly recommend this film. it's one of visconti's great efforts. it's kind of amazing really, how he could make excellent neo-realist films like this and also turn out more highly stylized period pieces. and, as alex pointed out, this film sort of walks a line between those two stylistic worlds, illustrating visconti's mastery.

i also want to mention it has a nice original score by the great nino rota.

oh, and tom...i got this dvd from netflix and the image quality was fine.

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