I pugni in tasca (English title: Fists in the Pocket) is the 1965 debut film by Marco Bellocchio. A classic of Italian underground cinema, it is a precursor to many other works in the spirit of the contestazione (contestation).
The film describes a family led by the blind mother. She has four children (three boys and a girl), the eldest of whom is a working person and the rest three are barely functional. They live in a big house but mostly don't know what to do with their free time abusing one another.
Once the second brother decides that the eldest brother who can lead a normal life should be liberated from all of them, himself included because they are unable to do anything. The film follows his attempts to achieve this goal as well as occasional half-hearted attempts to still somehow adapt to the surrounding life.
This movie is a perfect choice as the second item for the double feature with Dillinger è morto.
Tropes of contestation:
- Ambiguous Disorder: Giulia who is not epileptic but still is more than slightly off.
- Averted with Sandro and Leone who are both epileptic.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The movie.
- Deadly Bath: For Leone who is first drugged then drowned by Sandro.
- Disney Villain Death: For the mother, who falls off the huge cliff pushed by Sandro, although she is not a villain.
- Freudian Trio:
- The superego: Augusto
- The ego: Giulia
- The id: Sandro
- Genki Girl: Giulia is at times one.
- Karmic Death: Sandro goes to great effort to kill his family for supposedly being a burden on the eldest brother. But Giulia manages to kill him by doing nothing while he succumbs to epilepsy.
- Matricide: Sandro's plan, along with his plot to kill his siblings. He succeeds in the former.
- Meaningful Name: Augusto which is derived from the Latin adjective meaning "esteemed, venerable".
- Subverted with Leone who is not a lion.
- Unnamed Parent: The mother is only credited as such.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Giulia to Sandro in the end.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Played with. Sandro really enjoys his attempts to murder his family, often giggling or dancing to himself. In other occasions, he struggles with what he's doing and bails out of several opportune moments to kill people. One gets the sense that Sandro doesn't always want to be this trope, but his condition prevents him from entering the real world and growing as a person, resulting in his violent tantrums and doubling down into immaturity.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Played with for Augusto who is definitely the most reasonable but his behavior and attitude towards his family is unstable. At times he is patient and rational, at times angry and snarking.
- Sibling Murder: It also occurs.
- Suddenly Speaking: Leone talks once but without any dramatic consequences.
- Tantrum Throwing: Sandro and Guilia throw out of the window the furniture from their mother's room after her death.
- The Voiceless: Leone who is mostly silent.