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My Brother Is an Only Child

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Based on Antonio Pennacchi’s bestselling novel, ‘Il Fasciocomunista’ and written by Italy’s premier screenwriting duo, Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, this is as lively, witty, funny and intelligent a meditation on Italy’s Fascist inheritance as we’re likely to get.

Coursing through the ’60s, it follows the mirrored experiences of two politically-divided brothers from working-class Latina (the Mussolini-built town outside Rome used by Paolo Sorrentino as the symbolic locus for ‘The Family Friend’): awkward, interrogative Accio and his older Casanova-skilled brother Manrico. As mother’s favourite, Manrico gets ever deeper involved with the revolutionary left, while the sharp-tongued contrarian Accio, expelled from his seminary, falls under the influence of dogmatic father-figure, Mario and his band of thuggish Fascist ‘aristocrats’, occasioning fraternal punch-ups on the picket lines and stretching the battling brothers’ mutual loyalty to the breaking point.

Lacking the length and depth of Petraglia and Rulli’s magnum opus ‘The Best of Youth’, Luchetti’s film nevertheless covers much the same ground in entertaining, serio-comic fashion. A great deal of the film’s lightness  and humour comes from the acting, not least the delightful, spiky and engaging performances of Vittorio Emanuele Propizio and Elio Germano as the adolescent and mature Accio.

It’s a fundamentally satiric, domestic vision of a destructive ‘civil war’ that serves a gentle critique of the more po-faced ‘heavy’ examinations of Italy’s past (including the writers’ own) which manages to evoke, but never trivialise, the mad, internecine conflicts of recent Italian political history. Sprightly-directed, it is only slightly spoilt by an unnecessarily grand and overly sentimental ending.
Written by Wally Hammond

Release Details

  • Rated:12A
  • Release date:Friday 4 April 2008
  • Duration:100 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Daniele Luchetti
  • Screenwriter:Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli
  • Cast:
    • Elio Germano
    • Riccardo Scamarcio
    • Diane Fleri
    • Luca Zingaretti
    • Franco Piersanti
    • Claudio Collepiccolo
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