Lesley Caldwell

Mother or Brother? Visconti’s Rocco

Visconti’s interest in history and politics together with his investigation of the impact of political and social change on the lives of characters who inhabit a wide variety of settings and periods is consistently explored in all his films through the focus on families and family bonds. In this account of Rocco e i suoi fratelli I discuss the passionate connection between Simone and Rocco, the second and third brothers respectively. Rocco and Simone love the same woman, Rocco and the mother compete for the desired charmer and wastrel, Simone. In this ostensibly matriarchal family, and despite intense maternal rivalry and possessiveness, the sibling bond, the violence of sibling desire and hatred, of fraternal love remains the cinematic centre.