Fists in the Pocket
The always dependable Criterion Collection finally releases Italian cult favourite Fists in the Pocket. The debut from Marco Bellocchio was—and remains—a dark foray into the dysfunctions—and physical afflictions—of a formerly upper class Italian family. Set in a small provincial town, the film follows anti-hero Alessandro (Lou Castel), who sees his family all as vile monsters locked into emotional and social retardation. So to solve these problems he chooses a “collective suicide” for his mother and younger brother, which the family appears to be in support of, leaving the others to sink into more twisted eccentricities. Alessandro has paranoid delusions along with incestuous intentions toward his sister, adding to the film’s assault on traditionalist values and Roman Catholicism. With exquisite cinematography and rounded out with great performances, Fists in the Pocket is a powerful and disturbing film that easily puts Bellocchio alongside fellow Italian renegades Pier Paolo Pasolini and Bernardo Bertolucci. Forty years later the film still stands as a powerful and disturbing slice of cutting-edge independent filmmaking.