Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France, 2003. Arte France, Azor Films, Love Streams Productions, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+, Conseil Général de Loire-Atlantique. Screenplay by Patrice Chereau, Anne-Louise Trividic, based on the novel by Philippe Besson. Cinematography by Eric Gautier. Produced by Pierre Chevalier. Costume Design by Caroline de Vivaise. Film Editing by Francois Gedigier. Berlin Film Festival 2003.
Two estranged brothers are reunited when Thomas (Bruno Todeschini, i) finds out that he is dying of a rare blood disease. Younger brother Luc (Éric Caravaca) immediately lends his support and takes care of his sibling despite the fact that the two of them were never really all that close. At first doing it out of a sense of duty, the trauma of watching Thomas gradually decline allows Luc to reconcile with whatever troubles he had with him in the past, and gives Thomas a chance to show how strongly he always felt for his brother even when they weren’t together. A slow, precise film, this beautifully tender character piece by Patrice Chereau (Intimacy, Queen Margot) is blessed by its director’s constant attention to detail and two heartfelt performances in the leads. Todeschini is a marvel, never overplaying the physical requirements of the role, while Caravaca shows such strong conflict with so little activity that he is virtually undetectable as an actor. The film takes you over quite by surprise, at first seeming totally ineffectual in its simplicity but then riveting you with its genuine emotional substance before you even realize it.