The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, October 21-27

Courtesy Film Forum via Photofest
Courtesy Film Forum via Photofest

Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
Directed by Luchino Visconti
Visconti’s smoldering neorealist epic—clearly an inspiration to Scorsese, from outstanding fight scenes and sibling tension to ominous storefronts and urban throngs, among others—follows the poor Sicilian Parondi family’s search for a better life in the northern Italian city of Milan. Instinctively able to navigate the moral complexity of the big city and finesse an obliviously garrulous widowed mother, Alain Delon’s Rocco is a humble altruist. Drafted, he becomes a dutiful soldier and later a successful if reluctant boxer who makes inordinate sacrifices for his less evolved brothers—especially the beastly Simone, himself a washed-up brawler symbolically bedeviled by a wily Milanese prostitute. Delon delivers a movingly pensive, brooding performance that contrasts with the hardboiled roles in later films he made with French New Wave director Jean-Pierre Melville—testament to the actor’s range. The Parondis’ drive for assimilation is operatically fraught. In his impassioned wish for a harmoniously pluralistic Italy, however, Visconti’s liberal idealism is impossible to miss. Jonathan Stevenson (Through October 29 at Film Forum; showtimes daily)


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