This very fine six-hour drama charts the fortunes of an Italian family from the mid-'60s to the present. It's an honorable contribution to a tradition that includes Rocco and His Brothers, The Leopard, even The Godfather, but here the drama's political dimensions are delineated more clearly than usual. While Nicola, for instance, tries to overcome early disappointment by taking a hippy holiday, falling for a leftie who ends up in the Red Brigades, and working for the improvement of his country's psychiatric practices, his brother Matteo treats the very same sense of failure as an excuse to end up first in the army and then in the police. (Even the conspicuous absence of specific political references during the last hour speaks volumes about the Berlusconi era, given the accent on activism in earlier scenes.) Such oppositions might have made for schematic contrivance, but the sure sense of time and place in Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli's complex but beautifully lucid script and the visceral depth and subtlety of the performances result in classical storytelling of the highest order.