Passport to Italy: My Brother Is An Only Child

Whether you're looking for a break from the mainstream, or seeking to add a little international flavour to your stock of film faves, the oft-shyed world of foreign film is definitely one worth exploring. Each month, we'll help you navigate the map with our picks of some of the best from across the globe.

Photo: UKScreen.com

Mio fratello รจ figlio unico

Translation: My Brother Is An Only Child (2007)

English equivalent: Take Rushmore’s Max Fischer (only, you know, Italian, and minus the beret) wresting with the usual growing pains, but instead of joining the French or fencing club, signing up for the Fascist party. Throw in a little sibling rivalry with love triangle (Legends of the Fall, anyone?) for good measure and you've got yourself a deliciously dysfunctional (foreign) family drama. 

Guided tour: There’s nothing like a coming of age story (done right), but one that hits the mark and is set in 1960s Italy? Yes, please. At the centre of this film about the struggling Benassi family is the explosive Accio, the youngest of the brood and, of course, utterly misunderstood by his siblings. Constantly in scraps with older brother Manrico and sister Violetta, Accio turns to the Fascist party for support, a bold move since his family are all card-carrying Communists, with Manrico heading the occasional revolt. Things become even more complicated when Accio falls for Francesca, his brother’s girlfriend, and as the fiery Benassi gets older, love and politics don’t seem to come any easier.

Worldly charm: This beautiful film was a hit in Italy, and swiftly made its way into both TIFF and Cannes competitions. It’s no wonder, really: the quintessentially Italian Benassis with all their impassioned gesticulations are a delight to watch. Scene-stealer Elio Germano as the high-spirited Accio, in particular, is utterly lovable, especially when he’s saluting Il Duce and egging the house of local Reds. The rift between him and Manrico, however, is at the heart of My Brother, and the siblings’ political beliefs compounded by a complicated romance bring even more depth to an already charming drama.

Why book now? Handsome, fast-talking (and faster-gesturing) brothers divided by politics but bound by family, growing up in the turbulent Italy of the 1960s? This one books itself.

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