Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Rocco e i Suoli Fratelli - Rocco and his brothers

1960 by Luchino Visconti

Italy is witnessing mass migration of poor peasants from the South to its Northern cities. Rosario Parondi, who just lost her husband, come to Milan with her 4 kids (Simone, Rocco, Cirro and Luca) hoping the eldest, Vincenzo who is working in Milan, can do something to end their miserable lives. She is a very possessive mother and immediately dislikes Vincenzo's fiancee and her family. They have to struggle for a better life now. Simone starts training to be a pro Boxer. Vincenzo meets Nadia, a prostitute and introduces her to the whole family. Simone is too much attracted to her and even steals a kind of ornament (I dont know what its called) from the Store manager, where Rocco works, to present to Nadia. Nadia gives the present back through Rocco, telling him she doesnt want to see Simone anymore. Simone could have been a successful boxer, but he has many other interests than boxing and soon fails. He has too many negatives in his stride to emerge a champion. Rocco, who always dreams about going back to his home town, joins the army. He meets Nadia again and they really fall in love. He is the person who can lead Nadia to a normal life. But Simone finds this out and he ends up raping Nadia in front of Rocco. Strangely, Rocco advises Nadia to go back to Simone as he needs her more and is desperate to get her back. Rocco too starts training to be a pro boxer. When the ex manager of Simone goes for a police case to get back a big sum of money which Simone had stolen from him, Rocco enters into a long term contract in Boxing and pays back the money. Rocco thus enters professional boxing for the sake of saving Simone and he starts a successful career. Simone is searching for Nadia who is running away from him, and is back into prostitution. Simone pleads before her but her words, how much she despise him, provokes the criminal inside him and kills her. Rocco would like to save his brother, but the younger brother Cirro, who is working in a company, informs Police and believes the family is better off without Simone. Cirro explains to the youngest brother, how much it was important for the family to get rid of Simone. He explains Rocco as a saint, who lives only for the family not for himself, but doesn't think one should be that much forgiving, for it was Simone who destroyed the family peace.

This is an epic story, told as chapters about each brother. Except for certain things, I couldnt help thinking how much Indian this story was. I cannot be specific, but we might have seen many similar tales in India. I always felt that it was in Italy and Spain I could find some kind of an Indianness in their people. This movie reiterates that feeling.

Story is everything here, we are unable to understand few things though. How can Rocco forgive Simone after  raping his girl friend in front of his eyes, and how can Nadia go back to Simone after being raped, How can Rocco be so generous, he is the protagonist here and is more like a Biblical character. The kind of big brother we often see in Indian movies. Simone is the perfect antagonist, but how can he still want to live with a woman who shouts (and spits on his face) that she hates him. Well, few questions like that, but I would still say its a great story. Though, it is told as different chapters on each brother, its Simone and Rocco who really runs it through. Italy is still famous for its male domination. Well, may be that is quite evident here. And the mother of the five children, I felt, is very much Indian. For me Rosario Parondi is the best character in this movie.

Having said that the movie is too much dramatic at some points. It is excellent in many parts though.

While watching this movie, should I say most Classics in Black and White, I felt bad that I did not learn Black and white film developing and printing when I started taking pictures. If I did, I could have still used my manual cameras to take beautiful b&w shots. Black & White is brilliant.

Sorry to say this. Ever since I saw Le Meglio Gioventu, whenever I watch a long movie I am forced to compare it with L M Gioventu and I feel sorry for Rocco..., I am sure more people might find Rocco as a Classic Italian from a great Italian master, but L M Gioventu, for me, is the best example to make an epic movie without losing its pace at all. 

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