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Interview: Daniele Luchetti • Director

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Two rebellious brothers


- A coming-of-age tale that spans 15 years of Italian history through the adventures of two brothers who differ in their political convictions and personalities

Interview: Daniele Luchetti • Director

Cineuropa: My Brother is an Only Child [+see also:
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was inspired by Antonio Pennacchi’s novel Il fasciocomunista. How much of it comes from the book?

Luchetti: When I read the novel, which Cattleya proposed to me, I was initially captivated by its unconventional tone because the novel relates those years firsthand, because it’s an autobiographical story. Then, however, while working on the screenplay as well as and above all while shooting the film I felt there was something emotionally powerful that this story could grasp. This film is very heartfelt for me: I looked at that world affectionately, even the character of Accio, who perhaps in a film of several years ago would have depicted as a monster.

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In fact, the approach is less political than one might imagine.
I wanted a film that was similar to me, so I shot it with a light tone, which is my own. I did not want to fall into the trap of the cliché of the fascist. I wanted to portray Accio without judging him and without any intention of legitimising or de-legitimising one political side or the other. Nevertheless, it is not a “qualunquista” [term used to reflect mistrust towards all political factions] film. I wasn’t interested in making a political film, or only a political film, but a film about people who were led by the most diverse circumstances to make their choices, even political ones. I tried to look affectionately at the people who in those years were swept up by the current of history and found themselves, as a result of the most varied circumstances, making political choices that would condition their entire lives. It is a story with several layers, from the relationship between the brothers to politics, the family, love. Through the crack that is created within this working class family I wanted to relate the many cracks that divide Italy: the right and left, North and South, the rich and poor.

How did you direct the actors?
I shot this film in a somewhat different way than usual. First of all, we didn’t rehearse very much. I asked the actors to give up the tricks of the trade and play the characters without judging them, to give a freshness and naturalness, to give the actors freedom and capture certain unpredictable expressions. I asked the director of photography for a 360 degree set so that the actors were free to move around, invent, and so that I could shoot the scene as if it were real.


international title: My Brother Is an Only Child
original title: Mio fratello è figlio unico
country: Italy, France
year: 2007
directed by: Daniele Luchetti
screenplay: Stefano Rulli, Sandro Petraglia, Daniele Luchetti
cast: Riccardo Scamarcio, Elio Germano, Angela Finocchiaro, Massimo Popolizio, Luca Zingaretti, Alba Rohrwacher

main awards/selection

Cannes 2007 Un Certain Regard (selection)

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