My Brother Is an Only Child B+
(Mio Fratello e Figlio Unico)
Cannes Film Fest 2007 (Certain Regard)–Reuniting director Daniele Luchetti with longtime collaborators Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, best known as the screenwriters of the highly acclaimed epic, “The Best of Youth,” “My Brother Is an Only Child,” is an honorable addition to a distinctly Italian cinema tradition that documents the tumultuous, short-run and long-run effects of shifting socio-political milieus on personal and family lives.
The film was an official selection at the 2007 Cannes (Certain Regard) and Toronto film festivals, and will be released by ThinkFilm in New York on March 28 and in Los Angeles on April 4, followed by a national rollout.
Set in a small Italian town in the 1960s and 1970s, the film tells the story of two brothers who want to change the worldliterally–albeit completely different ways. The elder, Manrico (Riccardo Scarmaccio), is a handsome, charismatic firebrand who becomes the prime mover in the local Communist party. Accio, (Elio Germano) the younger, more rebellious brother, finds his own contrarian voice by joining the reactionary Fascists.
What starts as a typical and obvious Freudian tale of sibling rivalry gradually becomes the intriguing and more complex story of the polarizing and paralyzing politics of those turbulent times. Indeed, the rift between the brothers is further intensified and made even more complicated, when Accio realizes that he loves his brothers girlfriend, Francesca (Diane Fleri) who, like everyone else, is blind to Manricos increasingly dangerous ideas.
An intense, incisive film about the dreams and disillusionments of a crucial era in Italian politics and society (and the U.S. for that matter), the 1960s and 1970s, “My Brother Is an Only Child” takes place during the same times that major Italian directors, such as Bernardo Bertolucci and Marco Bellochio, made their own great political films. In this and other respects, Luchetti pay explicit homage to Bertolucci's “Before the Revolution” and particularly Bellochio's “Fists in the Pocket,” one of the most stunning debut in modern film history, and the later work, “China Is Near.”
At the Cannes Festival press conference, Luchetti was asked to speculate about the reaction of those directors-role models to his new work. Humble and modest, the helmer just said he was honored to be in their company and for his film to be mentioned in the context of their works.
In its visual scope, acute intelligence, and youthful exuberance (only a reasonably young filmmaker could have made this work), Luchetti's “My Brother Is an Only Child” is in good company, indeed.
Accio – Elio Germano
Manrico – Riccardo Scamarcio
Francesca – Diane Fleri
Violetta – Alba Rohrwacher
Mother – Angela Finocchiaro
Accio – Vittorio Emanuele Propizio
A Warner (Italy) release of a Warner, Cattleya presentation of a Cattleya (Italy)/Babe Films (France) production.
Produced by Riccardo Tozzi, Giovanni Stabilini, Marco Chimenz.
Executive producers, Bruno Ridolfi, Matteo De Laurentiis.
Directed by Daniele Luchetti.
Screenplay, Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli, Luchetti, based on the novel “Il Fasciocomunista” by Antonio Pennacchi.
Camera: Claudio Collepiccolo.
Editor: Mirco Garrone.
Music: Franco Piersanti.
Production designer: Francesco Frigeri.
Costume designer: Maria Rita Barbera.
Sound: Bruno Pupparo.
Running time: 100 Minutes.
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