My brothers and I

My brothers and I
Original title:Mes frères et moi
Director:Yohan Manca
Running time:108 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Loosely based on the play Pourquoi mes frères et moi on est parti... by Hédi Tillette de Clermont-Tonnerre. Nour is 14 years old. He lives in a working-class neighborhood by the sea. He is about to spend a summer with his older brothers' misadventures, his mother's illness and community service. When he has to repaint a corridor in his school, he meets Sarah, an opera singer who runs a summer course. An encounter that will open new horizons for him...

Mulder's Review

"Far from the image conveyed by the 24-hour news channels that only treat these territories as dangerous places, populated by thugs. My approach was not documentary either, as film-makers such as Abdellatif Kechiche or Tony Gatlif have expressed very well. My bias was to show what is beautiful and romantic in these territories. Therefore, it was out of the question to shoot hand-held and in digital, in order to avoid giving the feeling of shooting in a hurry in the heart of a place that is shown to be permanently hostile, even at war. I opted for a free-standing camera, a soft, assertive point of view, and I used the warmth of the southern light, restored by the film, the 16 millimeter. It makes, in my opinion, everything much more solar and poetic." - Yohan Manca

The great strength of French independent cinema is to be able to constantly surprise us, not to be a simple entertainment dictated by financial reasons but rather by a real freedom of tone. Certainly the first film directed by Yohan Manca succeeds in capturing a real look at our city and in showing us that from such a place can really emerge beautiful things. While in Stephen Daldry's Billy Elliot (2000) a young child finds in dancing a way to express himself and catalyze his energy, here young Nour finds in lyrical singing lessons a way to get closer to his mother in a coma and to express his real feelings stuck between brothers who live from different traffics and a not very glorious future.

Far from the numerous French films that try to apply simple formulas to conquer a large audience ready to consume commercial films without soul or originality and the repeated waves of blockbusters rather very successful and that at times succeed in exceeding their objectives and show that it is still possible to make dream of increasingly difficult spectators, it is good at times to return to a simple cinema as we could discover with pleasure in the 80s. In My Brothers and I, there are certainly no French stars, but the actors play well and the story is endearing.

Inspired by the play Pourquoi mes frères et moi on est parti... by Hédi Tillette de Clermont-Tonnerre, director Yohan Manca makes an inspired first film that is set in an unnamed city that looks a lot like Marseilles, as the harsh reality of life and its sensitive neighborhoods seem to extend as far as the eye can see. The main character Nour, a 14 year old boy who was supposed to do public works in his school, sees his attention captured by a singing class directed by Sarah (Judith Chemia). He decides to join the class and turns out to be quite gifted at opera singing.

Certainly for an audience for which the cinema is currently a perfect place to discover American blockbusters with its large screens allowing us to forget the time of a film the pandemic that we are currently going through and its different waves of variants of covid-19, My Brothers and Me may disconcert more than one so much the film aims to be permanently realistic even if it means to draw a line on a calculating happy ending. However, what the film gains in emotions and originality it loses by a too slow rhythm that shows a real fragility of the story. We leave the film happy to have discovered it but with a feeling that the end would have gained to be different and could have made the film the first feeling good movie of the year

My brothers and I
Directed by Yohan Manca
Produced by Julien Madon
Written by Hédi Tillette de Clermont-Tonnerre, Yohan Manca 
Starring Maël Rouin Berrandou, Judith Chemla, Dali Benssalah, Sofian Khammes, Moncef Farfar, Luc Schwarz, Olivier Loustau, Olga Milshtein, Loretta Fajeau-Leffray, Maïlys Bianco
Music by Bachar Mar Khalifé
Cinematography : Marco Graziaplena
Edited by Clémence Diard 
Production companies : A Single Man
Distributed by Ad Vitam (France)
Release date : January 5, 2022
Running time : 108 minutes

Seen on December 12, 2021 (press screener)

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