Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 15th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / France, 1981
Director: Francesco Rosi
Writers: Tonino Guerra, Francesco Rosi
Cast: Philippe Noiret, Michele Placido, Vittorio Mezzogiorno, Andréa Ferréol, Simonetta Stefanelli, Charles Vanel
BluRay released: April 25th, 2017
Approximate running time: 107 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Arrow Academy USA
Region Coding: Region A / Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $39.95
Three Brothers was co-written and directed by Francesco Rosi whose other notable films include, Salvatore Giuliano, Hands Over the City and The Moment of Truth. Key collaborators on Three Brothers include, screenwriter Tonino Guerra (Blow-Up, A Quiet Place in the Country), cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis (The Damned, Conversation Piece) and composer Piero Piccioni (L’Assassino, Camille 2000).
This film’s narrative revolves around three brothers, Raffaele a judge, Nicola a factory worker and Rocco, a consular. And though they are linked by blood, when it comes to the way the see the world, they couldn’t be farther apart. With that being said, there is one area where they do share common link and that is their unhappiness with their lives. Not to be overlooked is a fourth character, their father Donato and through this character he provides a glimpse of the lives that these three brothers once lived.
Without a doubt this film’s greatest strength are its characters and they are all well-defined. Another area where this film excels in regards to the customers is how its balances past and present moments to give a well-rounded view of where they came from and what direction their present lives is leading them.
Standout moments visually include, the film’s opening moments with rats crawling on the ground. Other striking moments visually a scene where Donato’s sees out in the fields his recently deceased wife who has just caught a rabbit for his dinner and a scene where Raffaele envisions his own violent death as the hands of terrorists. This last scene is the scene has a political tone that has since become synonymous with Francesco Rosi’s cinematic output throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Performance wise, the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s most memorable performance coming from Charles Vanel (The Wages of Fear) in the role of Donato. Other notable performances include, Philippe Noiret (Cinema Paradiso), Michele Placido (Art of Love) and Vittorio Mezzogiorno (Stunt Squad) in the role of the three brothers, Raffaele, Nicola and Rocco.
In life it is easy to get caught in familiar trappings, which then distance us or worse yet isolate us from the things that we once held precious. Fortunately, there are extraordinary films like Three Brothers that remind us how resilient the human spirit is and that is never too late to reconnect with the things once brought us joy.
Note: Content wise this release includes everything that was included on Arrow Academy’s UK release for this title. Also all content on the DVD included with this release is presented in NTSC. Below are my comments from that aforementioned release from Arrow Academy.
Three Brothers comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 2k restoration / transfer has been created. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, contrast and black levels remain strong throughout and details look sharp. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or comparison.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in Italian and removable English have also been included with this release. The audio sounds clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 20 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and archival audio interview with Francesco Rosi (72 minutes 11 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview include, Chronicle of a Death Foretold and why he chose to shoot the film in Columbia, shooting with an international cast, how the book ending differs from the novel which the film was adapted from, how Chronicle of a Death Foretold connects with the rest of his filmography, why he would not try to remake any of his own films, the state of making films in Italy and the lack of Italy’s cinema history with the youth, working with Luciano Visconti and what this experience taught him as a filmmaker, working with non-professional verse professional actors and why his films are dominated by male characters.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and forty-four-page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay written by director Francesco Rosi titled In Opposition to Life, In Opposition to Death, an essay written by Millicent Marcus titled Beyond Cinema Politico, contemporary reviews, Francesco Rosi on Three Brothers an interview conducted by Michael Ciment and information about the transfer.
Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Three Brothers gets an exceptional release from Arrow Academy USA, highly recommended.