His Brother (Son Frere) (2003) (France)

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His Brother (Son Frere) (2003) (France)

Postby hengcs » Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:43 am

Director: Patrice Chereau
Cast: Bruno Todeschini, Eric Caravaca

In the Berlin International Film Festival 2003, it garnered the Silver Berlin Bear for Best Director .

Well, I guess some of you have already watched the film. So, I will leave the synopsis and main review to you … hiaks hiaks …

My thoughts:
-- It describes human relationship very well! Wow … and not just among brothers, but also between partners, but also between children and parents, etc …
-- It is thought provoking …
e.g., is it obligation, sympathy, compassion or acceptance?
-- Some gripping scenes
i.e., the confrontation at the beach
i.e., the father and mother scene
i.e., the preparation for surgery scene
-- Great performance from the main cast!

A question to all who have watched the film
-- apart from contrast, is there really any objective in jumping to and fro (several times) in terms of time frame?
-- do you think the impact or effect will be lost if it were told linearly? Please explain.
I ask because I think the effect will not lost …

I highly recommend it.

Re: His Brother (Son Frere) (2003) (France)

Postby A » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:26 am

Was imo by far the best film from 2003. But I need to see it again, two years is quite a time for an evolving cineaste.

Regarding your question, I think the effect would be lost very much. The device is used so the viewer gets to know the troubled relationship better as the film unfolds. So our feelings towards the protagonists can be reflected upon in a new light each time. The MAIN focus is on the last days before death, and only through these flashbacks can, imo the dramatic effect be kept to the fullest. It is like a kaleidoscope with a center but the emotions and colors changing with every new insight.

Re: His Brother (Son Frere) (2003) (France)

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 4:17 am

It is like a kaleidoscope with a center but the emotions and colors changing with every new insight.

That's very well said. And those emotions never felt false.

I had this film #5 on my Best of 2004 list (it got a theatrical release in the U.S. in 2004).

Re: His Brother (Son Frere) (2003) (France)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:59 pm

SON FRRE (His Brother)
Directed by Patrice Chereau (2003) 88 minutes

French director Patrice Chereaus Son Frre is an almost unbearably intimate story about the disconnect between two brothers that, like The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, provides a clinical dissection of the sterility of hospitals and their failure to confront the human dimension of illness. Based on the Philippe Besson novel, "Son Frre," the film centers on the relationship between two brothers, one gay, the other straight. Luc (Eric Caravaca) is a gay man who has been estranged from his older brother Thomas (Bruno Todeschini), a graphic artist, though they live close to each other in Paris. Though there is little back story, the suggestion is that their relationship was sabotaged by homophobia.

When Thomas calls Luc on his cell phone to tell him that he is suffering from a potentially fatal blood disorder, Luc goes to the hospital to be with him, cutting off his relationship with his lover Vincent (Sylvain Jacques). Luc, at first resentful, tells his brother that the only reason he is there is because he was asked and his feelings of betrayal are evident. Neither their father (Fred Ulysse) nor their mother (Antoinette Moya) offer any comfort, only exacerbating the situation by telling Luc that they wish it would have been him instead of Thomas. Thomas girlfriend Claire (Nathalie Boutefeu) is also of little help, feeling powerless to offer Thomas much assistance.

Thomas platelet count continues to drop and, as the possibility of a fatal hemorrhage increases, the doctors decide to remove his spleen but it does not produce the desired result. The film shifts between scenes at the hospital and ones at Lucs house near the seaside, cutting backwards and forwards in time. Despite inter-titles that identify the month in which the sequence is taking place, however, the chronology is confusing. As the illness progresses and the toll of hospital corridors, waiting rooms, and invasive procedures multiply, fatigue and inevitability sets in as the brothers struggle to reawaken some of their previous intimacy.

Luc shares a touching anecdote from their childhood about how Thomas saved him from school bullies and when his brother seems ready to give up, Luc rubs his back searching for some meaningful way of connecting. When they finally proclaim their love for one another, however, the cycle of resignation and despair has already gone too far to be reversed and Luc seems to passively accept its inevitability. In one of the films most affecting scenes, we watch the excruciatingly slow and painstaking removal of all Thomas body hair with an electric shaver in preparation for his operation by cheery, smiling technicians.

Another moving scene, perhaps the most emotional in the entire film, is the casual meeting between Luc and a 19-year old patient (Robinson Stevenin) in the hospital hallway. The patient is distraught about the possibility of another major surgery and Luc instinctively reaches out to embrace him. On the whole, however, Son Frre is not an overtly emotional experience. To its credit, it studiously avoids displays of sentiment or peak dramatic moments but its affect can be flat and distancing. We long for a breakthrough or some catharsis that will bring release from all the bleakness, but Chereau does not offer any and Son Frre leaves us only with a feeling of sadness and a sober reflection on any damaged relationships of our own.


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