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Fists In The Pocket Criterion Blu-ray Review


“Fists In The Pocket” is a chilling Italian film.

Written and directed by Marco Bellocchio, “Fists In The Pocket” revolves around a dysfunctional family comprised of a blind mother, Augusto (the older and more mature son), Leone (a disabled son), Giulia (the lone daughter) and Ale/Sandro/Alessandro (a disgruntled and disturbed slacker of a son who also suffers from epilepsy). The family drives each other mad as they are essentially trapped with one another to the point of one such member (Ale) attempting to off family members one by one. As Ale falls further and further into insanity, will any family members be left standing?

Having just seen “The Joker,” it’s interesting to see this bold, ahead of its time 1965 Italian feature film for the first time as it shares more than a few similarities to the 2019 movie. Like the DC Comics based film, “Fists In The Pocket” is light on story and more of an artfully done slow burn character based piece about mental illness, a damaged and broken family, oppression, and a character snapping and doing horrific acts that he can’t come back from. The major difference here is that ‘Fists’ has more of a black comedy edge to it and also explores themes about religion and Italian society in the 60s. At its core though, ‘Fists’ is a disturbing cinematic journey with a deeply claustrophobic atmosphere and an unnerving and unpredictable main character in Ale.

On the subject of Ale, actor Lou Castel deserves a lot of credit here for making the character work. There’s a grounded realism to this insufferable psychopath that gets under your skin. Yes, there are a few moments that feel a bit over-the-top (the ending is a bit much), but for the most part he delivers a stand-out performance. Paolo Pitagora as Giula also impresses. Her scenes with Ale are particularly engrossing.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? The 4K digital restoration of this B&W film offers up a clean upgrade that also manages to maintain the grit and grain of the original print.

Audio Track: Italian Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? A little flat but adequate enough.

* A booklet with photos, credits, and an essay by film critic Deborah Young.
* “Fists In The Pocket” trailer
* A 2005 interview with renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci who talks about his love of “Fists In The Pocket.”
* An insightful newly recorded interview with Italian film scholar Stefano Albertini who analyzes “Fists In The Pocket,” discusses Italy in the 60’s, and talks about the influence the film had.
* “A Need For Change”- A 33 minute 2005 documentary about ‘Fists’ that features interviews with cast and crew members.

October 12, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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