Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Bruno Todeschini, Eric Caravaca, Nathalie Boutefeu, Maurice Garrel, Catherine Ferran
Director: Patrice Chéreau
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Gay & Lesbian
Thomas and Luc are brothers. Thomas is straight; Luc is gay. Unable to accept his brother`s homosexuality, Thomas distances himself. When Thomas contracts a terminal illness, he intrudes into Luc`s contented life and asks ... more »
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Gritty Realism Defines Brothers' Relationship
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"SON FRERE (His Brother) is yet another fine French film from the gifted Director of opera and film Patrice Chereau ("Intimacy", "Those Who Love Me Can Take The Train", "Queen Margot") and as in his other works, SON FRERE succeeds in drawing the audience along a journey that is not always pleasant (it is often even very grim) but one that leads to introspection and leaves the viewer the richer for having seen it. Thomas (Bruno Todeschini) is the older of two brothers of a small French family from Nantes. He was always the one with greater expectations by his mother (Antoinette Moya) and father (Fred Ulysse) than his younger brother Luc (Eric Caravaca): Thomas lives with his girlfriend Claire (Nathalie Boutefeu) in a 'normal' relationship while Luc is a gay man with a constant companion Vincent (Sylvain Jacques), a life style never discussed yet never approved of by the family. Thomas becomes ill (Thrombocytopenia) and finally reveals his secret illness to Claire, his parents and, reluctantly, to Luc. As Thomas faces the cruelty of a slow death (as dryly described by his physician played with great skill by Catherine Ferran), he realizes he needs constant care and asks Luc to be his caretaker. Luc complies ("It is something I would do for anyone" despite the fact that the two brothers have been estranged for years). Claire succumbs to the pressure of being unable to cope with death and Thomas and Luc spend his time away from frequent hospital trips in Paris to the summer home in Brittany. The film is told in flashback form from hospital bed to seaside house. The presence of a talkative, intrusive old man (Maurice Garrel) gives the brothers insights into the meaning of life/death issues and it is through the words of the old man that the brothers' relationship is transformed gradually but indelibly. Director Chereau has adapted Philippe Besson's novel by the same name with quiet, slowly paced dexterity, taking time to focus on all the aspects of terminal illness such as surgery preparation, hospital room pallor, and the cold truth about the inevitability of dying. All of the actors deliver first-rate performances, never fearing the grimness of their feelings or appearances or immodest nudity. This is a film of great power, a film that challenges the intellect while reaching for the heart. 'Those who love me can take the train' could be transposed to 'Those who love Chereau can share this film.' A little masterpiece. In French with English subtitles."
"This Is My Life Now"
H. F. Corbin | ATLANTA, GA USA | 09/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The French director Patrice Chereau's film "Son Frere" ("His Brother") is the straightforward story of two brothers, Thomas (Bruno Todeschini), who is dying from a rare blood disease, and his younger brother Luc (Eric Caravaca) who forsakes everything, including his lover Vincent (Sylvain Jacques), and his job, to return to their childhood home in Brittany to care for his brother.
The scenes in the hospital in Paris are realistic to a fault. The footage of Thomas' getting his body shaved before a spleenectomy, that ultimately does not save him, is almost too painful to watch. These scenes are contrasted with the calm beauty of the seaside where Thomas and Luc return after Thomas has refused any more treatment.
The actors give fine performances: Todeschini as Thomas, Caravaca as Lulc, Jacques as Vincent, Nathalie Boutefeu (Thomas' girlfriend Claire) as well as Catherine Ferran who plays the Thomas' kind but honest physician.
The film makes a statement about illness ("this is my life now") but also about the love between brothers and reconciliation. Thomas and Luc have been estranged for a long time, but Thomas' serious illness enables them to cut through all the petty things that separated them and get to the business of living-- and loving-- before it is too late. Luc remembers that Thomas, who is older, has saved his life many times and recounts an event that took place when he was eleven and was attacked by bees and Thomas came to his rescue. Both brothers acknowledge that they have always loved each other. At times Luc is the only family member Thomas "invites" to his bedside.
"Son Frere" is a beautiful little gem of a film that rings true in every frame and goes straight to the heart."
Straight to the heart!
Hiram Gomez Pardo | Valencia, Venezuela | 05/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ferocious and audacious gaze of this talented director emerges again after his artistic feat achieved with the Queen Margot.
This is a penetrating and devastating story. Two brothers; one of them is dying with an implacable illness. His defenses are in number excessively reduced. The other one is homosexual. And this serious ill will obligate them to join again, after years without major human contact. Their parents will visit him but this is disintegrated family: Every one of their members has something to do, even in these circumstances.
Nevertheless, both brothers experiment under this awful facts the necessity for keeping together and face a hard fight with the expected fears and demons.
The narrative speech is nourished with painful, expressive and dramatic close ups that accent still more this dramatis personae.
Maybe, looking back through our memories we should remind a famous film of Wajda: "Birch wood" that deals with a similar argument.
Crude, poignant and merciless script without melodramatic concessions.