Where: Latina, a small town near Rome that was built during Mussolini’s regime out of the Pontine Marshes.
When: the 60s and 70s, some of the most turbulent decades Italy has ever seen in the 20th century.
Who: two brothers from a working class family.
The elder, Manrico, is handsome, charismatic and adored by all. He becomes a militant of the local Communist party’s section. The younger, Accio, is more introverted, frustrated, angry. He ends up joining the local Fascist group, more in defiance of his brother and family than out of true conviction. The story of the two brothers becomes the story of the two “Italies”.
While Manrico’s leftist ideals become more and more radical and the distance between him and the world grows apart, Accio fluctuates from one extreme to another, in search of his real self. Which, luckily, he won’t find in the local Fascist group. He finds himself by empowerment.
In the moving and powerful final scene we find him a grown man smiling at the sea before him, after having stolen the keys to a block of council houses that his family and neighbours have been waiting to move in for years. “Re-appropriation” is the term still used, but I doubt Accio would have used it. He’s one who decides that facts are more important than words.
“My brother is an only child” is a song by much loved and missed songwriter Rino Gaetano, who loved to give voice to the marginalised in his songs.
Watch the trailer here.