Directed by Patrice Chereau
Shown at FACT
The film Son Frere (His Brother) was billed as being
an unforgettable and intensely rewarding experience, but this was definitely
not the case from my viewpoint.
It is a very sombre film set in Paris and Brittany, centering around
a young man who is dying of leukaemia and his struggle to accept his fate,
and his disillusionment with the attempts of the hospital to somehow relieve
Derek Jarman covered the disintegration of a body, as he was dying of
Aids (and all the attendant health problems that occurred) much more effectively,
evoking a far more sympathetic response of the viewer or listener to his
plight, in the film and CD Blue, than is the case with the character
of Thomas (Bruno Todeschini) n Son Frere.
The hospital takes over your body and you gradually lose control of it.....
The boredom level of the film reaches its nadir when it spends five minutes
lingering over Thomas having his body hair shaved off prior to going into
the operating theatre.
There are other low points. The acting often lacks conviction, the dialogue
is stilted, the plot predictable, and music - which can often help enrich
a film - was almost non-existent - the only piece of music is a song performed
by Marianne Faithfull.
Most of the film takes place almost entirely inside a hospital ward wherein
Thomas contemplates his forthcoming demise, often in conversation with
his brother Luc (Eric Caravaca), who has little warmth or love for him,
making one feel that you were watching an episode of Casualty.
It is refreshing to some extent when the film then switches from this
oppressive environment to the Brittany coast, where Thomas and Luc revisit
their childhood home, and reflect on their lives spent there, while gazing
out to sea.
In keeping with the predictable nature of the film, in a clichéd
closing scene, Thomas discards his clothes and walks into the sea to drown
The cinema industry in France receives a lot of financial backing from
the EU, but if Son Frere were recipients of some of this funding,
it was clearly a waste of money.
The question has to be asked - what was the point in making this film?