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Set in the south of France, Riki Kandinski and his elder brother Fredrico, come back to their family castle for their father's funeral. They haven't seen each other in a long time and Fredrico knows nothing about his younger brother, but he notices that he is making big money and living in luxury all for a few days work a week. By pure chance, Fredrico gets his hands on a gay porn magazine and sees his brother in it. According to Riki, he's had more than six hundred men and only four women. The brothers who grew up apart will have to get to know another again but both their lives change drastically when they witness a woman's death in a car crash. Written by
This film has a lot of ideas and messages, and also contains a love story. This is the story of two brothers who fall in love with each other (not in an incestuous way) but in the way of two people, who learn to accept each other, despite their different perspectives on life.
I think the introduction for the film, where you find Riki at a photo shoot, initially puts people off. You think you are just going to watch a bad porno film, full of close ups of Marco Filiberti (which isn't such a bad thing). Once you get beyond the opening, the film takes on a quiet, reflective nature. I was surprised to find a plot that did keep me engaged in the film.
Filiberti (who wrote, directed and starred in the movie) does a good job of presenting Riki as someone who is vulnerable and sad, because he doesn't have love in his life. Once he reunites with his brother, Frederico, (the fantastic Urbano Barberini) he meets his polar opposite. Suddenly Riki has to account for, defend himself, and is forced to own up to the reality of what he does for a living. And once Frederico reunites with Riki, he has to own up to the fact that he doesn't know his brother, their father was a crook, and the life he is leading is a lie. Both brothers were perfect foils for each other, because after meeting and spending time with each other, they began to let go of values that were holding them back and of no use to themselves, and began to embrace a fuller way of living.
The comments on class and what is means to be acceptable in society, which are sprinkled throughout the film are interesting, particularly for a viewer who is American. One has to wonder would Riki be more acceptable as a gay man to his family, if he were educated and did something else for a living.
The supporting characters are interesting also. We have Claudio (the restorer/porn star) who persistently tries to restore love to Riki's life. You also have "Luna" who is the female version of Riki, a person who alienates love, and wraps herself in skin tight clothing, which seems to alienate her from physical contact. She states she is unable to accept pleasure. Luna is very affected by Riki and considers him an accomplice in their way of living "life without pleasure." However, Luna, after sensing Riki's release from that way of living his life, his growth and his acceptance of love (from Frederico, Claudio, Plapla) feels abandoned and decides to leave. Julie seems to be a woman of clarity. She hatches a plan to save the family estate and is the one who seems to realize Riki is gay upon first meeting him, but embraces him anyway, without judgment. Plapla is the character the pulls Riki out of his ego, and is the person Riki is willing to make a sacrifice for.
This film does have some flaws. You have to wonder how Plapla's grandparents didn't know Riki was gay and why they never asked him what he did for a living or at least check out his background. I was willing to forgive this fact, because the grandmother is fantastic in her scene where she condemns Riki for his lifestyle and not being truthful with them. But this may be the point about Riki, he is who others need him to be at times, he is an illusion at times.
The film does a great job of spoofing porno films (the silly plot lines, the costumes)and those moments were actually funny and probably makes the audience at ease with what they are seeing on film. I liked the film's use of Debussy's music (the recurring "Ballade") during the serious moments and flashback scenes.
The use of Pietro/Plapla was good throughout the film. It was very touching to hear the character refer to Riki as "Papa." This character added some intrigue to the plot. The little talk between Plapla and Riki regarding Riki being gay, and his grandparents intolerance is touching. The kid that played little Plapla was great! All in all the ending is sad and foreshadowed a lot throughout the film. I thought the film had comedy, drama, love, and tragedy-the total package.
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