I pugni in tasca (Fists in the Pocket). 1965. Italy. Written and directed by Marco Bellocchio. With Lou Castel, Paola Pitagora, Marino Masé, Pierlugi Troglio, Liliana Gerace. 35mm. In Italian; English subtitles. 105 min.
At only 25, fearless young filmmaker Marco Bellocchio dropped this firebomb of a debut feature, filling the screen with rage, provocation, restlessness, and horror. A mother lives with her four grown children in a conservative provincial town in northern Italy. Tightknit, traditional, and religious as they might seem, each harbors a sense of discontent in this claustrophobic environment marked by illness, moral degradation, and self-absorption. Bellocchio sets the institution of family aflame with this stunning picture, which remains his masterpiece. Legendary composer Ennio Morricone’s dramatic music score helps to propel this explosive, haunting work.