It’s complicated. Just how complicated? A plot summary would require many too many marks on the page. Besides, cineaste and critic Roger Ebert did a yeoman job of same in a Sunday New York Times review from 2008. Google it if you want the whole story. In essence, what Ebert describes is an epic film (running time is 177 minutes) that amounts to a celluloid version of an opera, including the requisite folly and melodrama and general over-the-topness. Absurd yes, but apparently also exhilarating.

“Rocco and His Brothers” is the next film in the Ciao Cinema! series, the latest iteration of the Cinematheque, a joint venture between the Telluride Film Festival and the five-star Wilkinson Public Library, programmed annually – and adroitly – by Telluride Film Festival director Gary Meyer.

Visconti’s masterpiece follows the Parondis, a poor, rural family struggling to adjust to urban life after moving from their village in Southern Italy to Milan, tracking the family disintegration as it attempts to matriculate into the industrial North.The film is divided into five chapters revolving loosely around the five brothers  and their hardships. Troubles arise when Simone (Renato Salvatori) falls in love with a prostitute, Nadia (Annie Girardot), who in turn falls in love with Simone’s saintly brother, Rocco (heart throb Alain Delon). Simone’s obsession with Nadia leads him to commit a treacherous crime, dashing Rocco’s hopes of keeping the family together.

“A fine Italian film to stand alongside the American classic, ‘The Grapes of Wrath,'” raved The New York Times.

A pre-SHOW reception starting at 5:30 p.m. features an Italian themed meal. SHOW time is 6 p.m.

Popular TFF Ringmaster Seth Berg leads the evening’s discussion.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Seth:

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