Sandro Petraglia

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My Brother Is An Only Child Review


Good
Scripted by Stefano Rulli and Sandro Petraglia, the duo behind 2005's commendable The Best of Youth, Italian director Daniele Luchetti's awkwardly-titled My Brother Is an Only Child starts off in a very odd place before being coaxed back to familiar environs. In telling the story of two brothers on feuding sides of the political spectrum in 1960s Italy, Luchetti begins on the side of pro-Il Duce fascism before getting wrapped up in his own tempered version of post-collegiate radicalism.

Young Accio (Vittorio Emanuele Propizio) yearns for the priesthood, but not as much as his young body yearns for the bodies of Italian movie actresses, whom he discovers through small photos. When he can't get a straight cure from the clerics, Accio goes secular and takes up a kindred cause: fascism. His older brother Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) is celebrated by their parents for causing a riot at work under the banner of communism and unionization, but a teenaged Accio, played by the talented Elio Germano, takes chastisement at every turn for his loyalty to the ways of Mussolini.

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The Best Of Youth Review


Excellent
There's a moment early on in the bright, roomy Italian melodrama Best of Youth that doesn't auger well for the rest of the film. In Turin, circa 1974, a medical student and his girlfriend have gotten trapped in a street protest and are about to be run down by the overzealous riot police, one of whom is his brother. While the two grew up very close, the last few years had seen them grow apart and this dramatic moment seems sure to set us up for a house-divided, North and South-type story that will use the brothers as symbolic of Italy's fractious extremes. Fortunately, that never happens, and as the film meanders along, it consistently shucks off any expectations of this kind, delivering instead a sumptuous story of a family, a time in history, and an entire country.

The first (and last) thing that people know of Best of Youth is that it is six hours long. This is indeed true. But rather than a deterrent, this should actually serve as an enticement - it's a film that has room to relax. Best of Youth starts with two brothers who come of age in Rome during the golden year of 1966. There's scooters on which they can zip about the graciously aging city, American R&B tootling out of radios everywhere, friendly prostitutes to relieve them of burdensome virginity, and, in short, their whole lives in front of them.

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The Keys To The House Review


Good
The film that carved a niche out for this one is Rain Man. Though The Keys to the House is not, by any means, an imitation, it is about a young person with a handicap and a caretaker. Here, it's 14-year old, mentally impaired Paolo (Andrea Rossi) and the father who abandoned him years before.

Gianni (Kim Rossi Stuart -- no relation), wants back into his handicapped son's life years after he turned away because of birth defects that he wasn't prepared to cope with. He now faces the scary prospect of re-introducing himself to the boy and turning his biological role into an actual one. His trepidation derives from the fact that communication with Paolo is unpredictable and he doesn't know how the boy will receive or relate to him.

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Sandro Petraglia Movies

The Best of Youth Movie Review

The Best of Youth Movie Review

There's a moment early on in the bright, roomy Italian melodrama Best of Youth that...

The Keys to the House Movie Review

The Keys to the House Movie Review

The film that carved a niche out for this one is Rain Man. Though The...

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