Thursday, March 29, 2007

Movie Review of the Month: Fists in the Pocket (Italy, 1965)

I started watching this film twice and gave up 10 minutes into it. For some reason, the beginning is a bit confusing, and the initial scene with the family is bizarre. Then I tried watching it again the other night, and was totally taken in by it. In fact, I watched it a second time this evening. Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) was the debut film for Marco Bellocchio in 1965 with an incredibly penetrating and complex performance by first timer Lou Castel. The story centers on Alessandro (Lou Castel) and his attempt to do away with his dysfunctional family, in order for his older, and normal (read, bourgeois) brother to be able to marry. When Bellocchio took a copy of the film without sound to the Venice Film Festival for consideration, he was told to abandon it altogether, to not finish it.

I think you have to understand the context of the film to understand how revolutionary and shocking it was at the time. Italian society was stiflingly bourgeois and Catholic in the early 60's. Cinema was still identified with the past masters, such as Antonioni and De Sica. Bellocchio turned these values on their head with his outrageous plot full of black humor, and presaged (along with fellow film student Bertolucci) the student riots in Europe in 1968. I believe it was Lou Castel, years later, who characterized the film as the "rumble before the earthquake".

If you're a serious film person, and haven't seen it, you must.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the visit ;-)

See you soon