‘Love’s Brother’ is a charming, new Australian film that shouldn’t be overlooked.
The film has been written and directed by Jan Sardi who wrote the screenplay to ‘Shine’.
Let me set the scene. It is a town outside Melbourne in the 1950’s, with a large immigrant Italian community. The main character is Angelo, a bit of an ugly duckling who wants to find a wife and settle down. The local community has a dearth of Italian women so, through a local matchmaker, he corresponds with women in Italy who are looking to make a new life for themselves. (This practice was quite common at the time, known as looking for a proxy bride).
Angelo keeps on getting knocked back, and he is despairing of ever finding anyone. It is only with the encouragement of his younger brother, Gino, and his friends that he keeps on trying.
One night he is replying to another sweetheart, and he comes up with an act of desperation. With each letter that he forwards on, he has to attach a photo of himself. This night he chooses to send a photo of his much younger and better looking brother Gino.
Rosetta, a beautiful looking young southern Italian woman from a deeply impoverished family, receives the letter, and taken by the sentiments and the handsome photo, says yes.
As is the case with proxy marriages, quick marriage ceremonies are arranged for Angelo and Rosetta in their home towns. And then Rosetta boards her boat to take her from Italy to the port of Melbourne.
So there we have a quite exquisite set-up. So many lives are now affected.
How is Angelo going to resolve his sticky situation? How is Gino going to react when he finds out his brother has used his photo? The brothers are so close, will their love for each other be people to survive such deception? How will Rosetta cope with being so deceived, will she deal with the situation or will she rush back to Italy? How will Angelo’s local community, so supportive of him, cope with him behaving so dishonestly?
How does ‘Love’s Brother’ unfold? I’m not going to spoil the film by going into any more detail. You will have to have make the effort to see the film, to see how Sardi delicately plays out the various scenarios.
Rest assured that ‘Love’s Brother’ is worth visiting. It is an accomplished film, well orchestrated by Sardi, superbly lit by cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, with a quality cast headed by Amelia Warner, Adam Garcia and Giovani Ribisi.