A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960)

Renato Salvatori and Alain Delon in Rocco and His Brothers
Rocco Parondi: Alain Delon
Simone Parondi: Renato Salvatori
Nadia: Annie Girardot
Rosaria Parondi: Katina Paxinou
Vincenzo Parondi: Spiros Focás
Ginetta: Claudia Cardinale
Ciro Parondi: Max Cartier
Luca Parondi: Rocco Vidolazzi
Morini: Roger Hanin

Director: Luchino Visconti
Story and screenplay: Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Vasco Pratolini, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Enrico Medioli
Based on a novel by Giovanni Testori
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Production design: Mario Garbuglia
Music: Nino Rota

When Rocco cries out, "Sangue! Sangue!" on finding Nadia's blood on his brother Simone's jacket, I almost expect to hear Puccini on the soundtrack instead of Nino Rota. It's one of those moments that cause Rocco and His Brothers (along with other films by Luchino Visconti) to be called "operatic." It's "realistic" but in a heightened way -- the word for it comes from the realm of opera: verismo. The moment is in the same key as the actual murder of Nadia, along with her earlier rape by Simone, and the numerous highly volatile scenes of the family life of the Parondis. It's what makes Rocco and His Brothers feel in many ways more contemporary than Michelangelo Antonioni's more cerebral L'Avventura, which was released in the same year. Movies have gone further in the direction of Rocco -- think of the films of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola -- than they have in the direction of Antonioni's oeuvre. I have room in my canon for both the raw, melodramatic, and perhaps somewhat overacted Rocco and the enigmatically artful work of Antonioni, however.

Watched on Filmstruck

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