Fears, hopes, and regeneration in Tre fratelli: The return of the child in the 1980s

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With Tre fratelli (1981), Francesco Rosi turns to the troubled years when the nation's ideological fabric began to disintegrate and captures the fear of a nation on the verge of collapse, producing a film of devastating emotional impact. Tre fratelli is the tale of three brothers summoned back to their childhood home in Puglia for the funeral of their mother. These very different brothers serve as a cross section for contemporary Italian society: Raffaele, a self-assured judge in Rome whose life is haunted by the fear of terrorist assassination; Rocco, an idealistic teacher who works at a reformatory in Naples; Nicola, a factory worker and labor organizer in Turin. The brothers' estrangement from their cultural roots creates a disaffected young generation, which is symptomatic of Italy's dysfunctional present. The youth's problems are symbolized by the judges teen-age son Giorgio and Rocco's institutional minors. Only Nicola's eight-years old daughter Marta embodies a solution of regeneration. A magical presence, she gives life to a historical present in which the human soul contains the seeds of the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-112
Number of pages14
JournalQuaderni d'Italianistica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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