Three Brothers (1980)

Dir. Francesco Rosi

Sometimes stories that occur within a particular culture and time capture universal qualities to an extent that people outside that time and culture connect with the story. However, I experience a lot of European films with a strong political/cultural/historical content at an arm’s length. If I’m largely ignorant of the country’s history, politics and culture, I feel like I’m missing a large part of the film. That was partly the case with this movie.

The film involves three brothers that return home to attend their funeral of their mother. The film uses family members to represent different groups in Italian society (in the 70s?): the oldest brother, who happened to be a judge, representing law and order, perhaps; the second oldest representing compassion and the importance of reaching the youth; the youngest representing, what I guess was an aggressive labor movement in Italy at the time. This is another problem I had. Still another problem was the way the characters would discuss political issues throughout the film, which made the film too didactic for me.

This was a 1001 film pick which I didn’t care for, but again, I think my lack of understanding of Italian society at the time period of film made appreciating the film extremely difficult.

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