For too much of its length, Rosi's film threatens to disappear into the mist of its quest for Big Themes. Its story of three men - a Rome magistrate, a reform school teacher, and a trade union activist - summoned by their aged father to assemble in the southern Italian village of their upbringing for their mother's funeral, provides Rosi with the dynamic for investigations into various Burning Questions affecting Italy today - the issue of terrorism and political justification of terrorist violence; the division of the country into two distinct economic regions, one privileged, the other deprived, and what to do about it. So far, so relevant. Unfortunately, Rosi also sees fit to grapple with such eternal themes of the human condition as the symbolic contrasts offered between Life and Death, Youth and Age, Innocence and Experience, often leaving you wishing for the simpler but much more compelling attractions of investigative gangster and thriller genre pieces like Lucky Luciano and The Mattei Affair. It's only in the realisation of the various characters' dreams, reveries and memories that this really ever becomes seductive.
Cast and crew