The Film (4.5/5)
When their mother suddenly passes away, three brothers must reconnect at her funeral. But each man has a different life, and their beliefs may cause heart break. As the weekend continues, tensions rise as the brothers and their father think back on their life’s, the mom, and where the future leads.
THREE BROTHERS (1981) is at once, a simple tale of a family reconnecting over a tragic loss and a complex web of dreams, political satire, and the human condition. This is my first encounter with the work of Francesco Rosi. Rosi is known for directing some big political productions such as SALVATORE GIULIANO (1962), HANDS OVER THE CITY (1963), and MANY WARS AGO (1970). From viewing trailers of these earlier films, I’ve noticed his style. The Rosi style is a mix of big themes about the Italian people, and a web of, at first, normal images that later take on a deeper meaning.
THREE BROTHERS on the simplest terms is a story of how a family deals with the loss of a love one. It’s slow and matter the fact about it. But buried deep inside is a different matter. Tension rises from the three brothers who reconnect after many years. The hidden pasts come to light. Here Rosi can comment on how the work force strikes and shocking violence on the streets take a hit on everyone. There’s also some comic relief and inventive dream scenes to make a statement on these themes. One involving a flashback to world war 2 and a tank that stops in the village, and the more striking dream scene involving a group of school children sweeping up endless amounts of drugs and guns off the street.
The real star of the film is the cinematography by Pasqualino De Santis. De Santis highlights the natural beauty of the area. The film is filled with striking views of the vistas, valleys, back roads, hills, and fields. For such a quiet film, the camera work is highly energetic, with many great tracking shot set pieces and fast transitions. The soundtrack by Piero Piccioni is a nice haunting and tender mix. The visuals and the music turn the film into a dream-like lullaby. The sounds liner from scene to scene.
The disc has the Italian LPCM 1.0 track. The sound is a little muffled. The dialogue sounds off and too quiet. The sound effects and soundtrack, on the other hand, sound fantastic. The score is pure joy to listen to. The tune whistles and hums through your head. Easy to read English subtitles are included.
The 1080p HD transfer is another stand out from Arrow. The film looks like it was shot yesterday. The amount of detail in every frame is mind blowing. Each face is like a in depth painting, with harsh and toned landscapes. The black levels are smooth and the picture is razor sharp focused.
The main extra is a lengthy interview with Director Francesco Rosi. The interview runs 72 minutes, and Rosi covers a lot of ground and shares a lot of tippets from the production and the political state of Italy at the time. Also included is the film’s theatrical trailer. Rounding the package is a 43-page book of liner notes and reversible cover art.
THREE BROTHERS is a dreamy and surprisingly uplifting film about family and how history affects us. It was well done enough to make me want to track down more films by Rosi. Arrow Academy gives the film a handsome release with a fantastic transfer. Highly Recommended.