I have seen this film before but I couldn’t remember some of the plot details, so I decided to watch it once again, I come from a family of three brothers, therefore I could definitely relate to the film. The story is about three brothers summoned home by the news that their mother has died. Upon their return they realize they must come to terms with death and the course of their own lives. Loosely based on the novel The Third Sun by A. Platonov.
'Three Brothers,'' the Italian nominee for the Academy Award as the best foreign language film of 1981, Direcyed by Francesco Rosi is full of such moments of startling clarity and beauty, of the discovery of unexpected reserves of emotion. Filmed in a small color palette of whites, beiges and grays it helps place you in that refrained emotional state. All of them are contained in the film's flashbacks, in the memories and daydreams of Donato and of the three sons who return to their hilltop farm in southern Italy for their mother's funeral.
Unfortunately, nothing in the film's present tense has anything like the force and power of these reveries, possibly because the present-tense narrative is so schematic. Donato's three sons represent a particular family less than a large slice of Italian society. Raffaele (Philippe Noiret), the eldest son and a prominent judge in Rome, spends most of his time at the farm worrying about whether or not to accept a case involving the assassination of one of his colleagues by terrorists. He feels that it's his duty to accept, though he knows that acceptance will put in jeopardy his life and the lives of the members of his family.
Rocco (Vittorio Mezzogiorno), the second son, is an idealist. He is unmarried and works for little money as a teacher in a home for delinquent boys in Naples, firm in his conviction that if the world is to be saved from chaos a beginning must be made by guiding the still-unformed minds of the younger generation. Nicola (Michele Placido), the youngest, is a militant leftist who works in a factory in Turin and is flirting with the use of violence to achieve social change.
During their visit to their childhood place they soon realize how far apart they have grown apart from those days, something that could easily happen in the case of three brothers.