Son Frere review

Diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disorder, Thomas (Bruno Todeschini) drops in unannounced on his younger gay brother Luc (Eric Caravaca). The two have been estranged for years, but Luc agrees to accompany his sibling to the hospital. There, despite the tests, medication, injections and even surgery, the doctors seem unable to halt Thomas' painful decline...

Director Patrice Chéreau's tough-but-tender follow-up to Intimacy refuses to traffic in the familiar movie clichés, avoiding heroics to instead zoom in on the nitty-gritty. Cutting backwards and forwards in time, between wintry Paris and summery Brittany, Son Frère examines, in detail, the process of Thomas' bodily decay, starkly recording the pallor of his flesh and the scarring of his skin. And while primarily concentrating on the fraternal relationship, this sombre and exceptionally well-acted drama also finds time to highlight how illness impacts on the wider emotional lives of sufferer and carer alike. Impressive.

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