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"My brother is an only child"

Posted at 2:25 PM on May 17, 2008 by Euan Kerr

Daniele Luchetti's 1960's drama "My Brother is an Only Child" is an unsettling film. The tale of two brothers who take Italian stereotypes of emotional disputation to new levels will ring true for anyone who know that special blend of sibling rivalry which blends animosity with deep unquestioning love.

Elio Germano plays Accio, the younger brother of Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio,) who discovers that joining the Communist Party is a great way to meet girls.

Accio has failed in his career in the seminary because he is increasingly skeptical of what he's being taught. This disappoints his father, a factory worker who feels "having a priest in the family would be useful." Accio's skepticism heads to new heights as he questions his brothers new found political beliefs and ends up joining the Fascist party. Oh, and they both fall for the same girl, Francesca (Diane Fleri) forging the rarely acknowledged link between sex and politics.

The film plot spins out from the way the brothers can't tolerate each other politically, while also being unable to break the familial ties. It's heartrending at times, and confusing if you aren't familiar with the intricacies of post-war and post-Mussolini Italy.

Yet the story has an underlying sad sweetness. The brothers are both engaged in what they see as "the struggle," yet while they think it's political, ultimately it's much more personal, and more deeply human struggle than that.

May 2008
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