Review: Individuals (2016)

Individuals (2016)

Directed by: Edoardo De Angelis | 104 minutes | drama | Actors: Angela Fontana, Marianna Fontana, Antonia Truppo, Toni Laudadio, Peppe Servillo, Gaetano Bruno, Massimiliano Rossi, Marco Mario de Notaris, Gianfranco Gallo, Antonio Pennarella

Dasy and Viola form the double centerpiece of the Italian drama ‘Indivisibili’. You have to look twice: are they girls or women? And… who’s who? The identical twins have something special: they have grown together at the hips. The conjoined twins have survived all these years, growing into attractive, talented young women. Pretty clever, because apart from their disabilities, the environment in which they were raised is not exactly ideal. They have to make do with a mother who is constantly drunk or in a different state of mind expanding, a father who is more concerned with the financial gain he can achieve with his daughters… Dasy and Viola perform as singers. In Catholic Italy, the presence of the conjoined twins is apparently seen as a favorable circumstance / blessing, so who can afford it, ask the singers for weddings, birthday parties or First Communion parties.

‘Indivisibili’ opens with a nice tracking shot, but otherwise the lid of the visual bag of tricks remains ajar. The film by Edoardo De Angelis looks neat, well-considered choices are made regarding the staging, but that beautiful opening scene is no longer surpassed. The two protagonists (in reality ‘normal’ twins) impress with their feature film debut and know how to portray the characters well with small nuances, so that you naturally keep them apart as the film progresses.

That difference in the characters is crucial to the plot, because without this psychological friction there is no conflict and that’s where ‘Indivisibili’ gets the power from. It is easy to imagine how both girls must feel: Viola wants to hold on to the past, because that just feels good and is familiar. Dasy is a lot more ambitious and curious: unlike her sister, she already knows sexual pleasure (we see her masturbating in the beginning of the film) and she falls in love easily. However, the love the two sisters feel for each other is equal.

The background of the story of ‘Indivisibili’ is at times bizarre and grotesque and despite the money Dasy and Viola earn for their family, poverty seeps through everything. And with it the desolation. It is a bleak world that De Angelis paints here, full of profiteers, touts, addicts and religious fanatics. With a glimmer of hope, for those who want to see it.

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