Thrashing Out: The Film, “Fist in His Pocket”

In 1965, with Fist in His Pocket, Italy’s Marco Bellocchio proved he was an able film artist.  His movie is about a wretched family living wretched lives.  They, the people, are morally and existentially wretched:  One of them (Lou Castel) is an epileptic who dabbles in incest with his sister.  Disturbingly dark stuff.

Families, the film says, are often invaded by existential nightmares, although the oldest son in the present clan (Marino Mase) has a good chance of escaping it in the family he will start with his nice fiancee.  Who knows?  Life is hell, though.

To me, Fist in His Pocket is a bit tiresome.  It has been called nihilistic.  Actually, if it is, it slowly becomes so preoccupied with pathology that the nihilism—and everything else—seems like an afterthought.  This is a flaw.  To be honest, there isn’t much to the film.  Bellocchio, all the same, directs scintillatingly, and Castel, Mase and Paola Pitagora (pitiful Sis) have interesting faces and perform compellingly.

(In Italian with English subtitles)

 

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