Luchino Visconti's episodic prize-winning study of five brothers and their widowed mother transplanted from rural Sicily to industrial Milan in northern Italy is violent, deliberately operatic, and makes ambiguous social statements. The characters' relationships are explored over a period
of 12 years, with concentration chiefly on Delon and Salvatori as they alternately enjoy and abuse the affections of Girardot, a prostitute who yearns to be free. She loves Delon, but he sacrifices her to the brutal Salvatori because the latter seems to have greater need of her love. Unable to
return Salvatori's affection or to put up with his possessiveness, she returns to her fo...