CINEMA, SOUL IN THE EYES
organization Art Promotion

Fists in the Pocket

 

Italia – 1965 – 35mm – b/n – 107’

 

Direction: Marco Bellocchio

Screenplay: Marco Bellocchio

Photography: Alberto Marrama

Editing: Silvano Agosti

Set design: Gisella Longo

Music: Ennio Morricone

Costumes: Rosa Sala

Cast: Lou Castel, Paola Pitagora, Marino Masé, Pierluigi Troglio, Irene Agnelli, Jeannie McNeil, Liliana Geraci, Gianni Schicchi, Stefania Troglio, Mauro Martini, Alfredo Filippazzi, Celestina Bellocchio, Gianfranco Cella, Tino Mulinari, Lella Bertante, Sandra Bergamini

Producer: Enzo Doria

Production: Doria Cinematografica

 

SYNOPSIS

In a decadent villa setting in the mountain area of Piacenza lives a bourgeois family whose direction is entrusted, rather than to the blind mother, to the eldest of four children, the lawyer Augustus, who, engaged for quite some time to a city girl, looks forward to leaving the house in order to create his own family in the capital. In the house are living: Leone, the youngest of the brothers, who suffers from epilepsy and is incapable of reasoning; Giulia, who, though apparently normal, is in her turn ill and still psychologically lives in a pre-adolescence phase which morbidly links her to Sandro. The latter, in his turn insane and epileptic, has got a reactive mind in devising evil plans aiming at eliminating the family…

 

CRITICAL NOTE

“(…) Marco Bellocchio has given rise in his Fists in the Pocket to all which usually constitutes the world of youth. In this movie there is everything, truly: family’s hate and love, ambiguity in fraternal relations, attraction to death, enthusiasm about life, abstract action’s will, impotent anger, morbid melancholy, profanation violence and finally, as background for all of this, the dark and fatal sense of a hopeless Province. This complex and turbid matter, however, is not expressed in a hazy manner as it is almost always in the Italian cinema and literature, but rather it is handled, rare case, in a dramatic way.
The director felt that the violence of his polemic against a certain society could not be justified but exploding into a tragedy, and so he introduced to himself the problem of how to insert significant events such as matricide and fratricide, without blowing up the weak natural setting. But he was unable or unwilling to follow the main path of normality and preferred the madness’s shortcut: in fact a normal man cannot do whatever he wants but whatever he can do, while a crazy man can instead do anything, except then to give the impression that he has basically done nothing. There was, however, the danger of falling into a horrid film of the kind of Who Killed Baby Jane? or in the Zola’s realistic “slice of life”. This fall has largely been avoided by the director by injecting in the leading actor Alessandro, a distorted and funerary conscience. Marco Bellocchio has invented with Alessandro a very nice character, and especially within the Italian cinema, very new. The originality of this character lies in the fact that his criminality isn’t hidden, as often happens in the real criminals, behind the facade of a normal and correct behavior but rather behind a systematic and ironic extravagance. The character saves himself and the film through this kind of Hamletic extravagance which leads to give a poetic meaning even to his crimes, almost by reducing them to bizarre expressions but justified by his mood. This is so true that when in the last sequence, unexpected and brilliant, certainly one of the most incredible fragments of cinema in recent times, Alexander abandons himself to the vitalistic and mortuary exaltation which inspired him the music of Verdi and finally dies, the viewer experiences a feeling of piety as for the death of a fundamentally positive hero. The direction is strong, with a dramatic sense of the important framing and concise editing, which however sometimes seems to be slowed down by the content hesitations. Among the performers a special praise goes to Lou Castle who has been able to create with Alexander an unforgettable character. Beside him we must remember especially Paola Pitagora, very well in playing Giulia and then Mauro Masè, a persuasive Augusto and Liliana Gerace, playing the mother”. (Alberto Moravia, Al cinema)

“(…) Marco Bellocchio has given rise in his Fists in the pocket to all which usually constitutes the world of youth. In this movie there is everything , truly: family’s hate and love, ambiguity in fraternal relations , attraction to death, enthusiasm about life, abstract action’s will , impotent anger , morbid melancholy, profanation violence and finally, as background for all of this, the dark and fatal sense of a hopeless Province. This complex and turbid matter, however, is not expressed in a hazy manner as it is almost always in the Italian cinema and literature, but rather it is handled, rare case, in a dramatic way. (…). He has invented with Alessandro a very nice character, and especially within the Italian cinema, very new. (…)” (Alberto Moravia, Al cinema)

 

AWARDS

1965 Festival di Locarno – Concorso: Silver Sail

1965 Rio de Janeiro FF:  Cinema Novo Award

1966  Silver Ribbons:  Best Original Story