A Brother

A twentysomething photographer and his kid sister undergo crucial parallel transitions in the wintry "A Brother." Two-tiered coming-of-age and coming-to-grips tale is a sensitively told slice of life distinguished by two fine central perfs. This debut feature seems unlikely to travel far beyond French-lingo outlets but scripter-helmer Sylvie Verheyde bears watching.

With:
Loic - Jeannick Gravelines
Sophie - Emma De Caunes
Vincent - Nils Tavernier
Virginie - Karole Rocher
Tony - Emmanuel Nicolas

A twentysomething photographer and his kid sister undergo crucial parallel transitions in the wintry “A Brother.” Two-tiered coming-of-age and coming-to-grips tale is a sensitively told slice of life distinguished by two fine central perfs. This debut feature seems unlikely to travel far beyond French-lingo outlets but scripter-helmer Sylvie Verheyde bears watching.

Darkly handsome, perpetually broke Loic (Jeannick Gravelines) comes from a working-class ‘burb on the outskirts of Paris but has been making inroads with the capital’s beautiful people, thanks to his fashion and fine art photography. His best friend Tony (Emmanuel Nicolas, in a rubbery, bittersweet perf) is hooked on junk and seems to have inherited Loic’s former g.f. Virginie (Karole Rocher).

Loic, who still lives with his mother to save money, also pals around with Vincent (Nils Tavernier), a more refined and well-connected fellow. Trouble erupts when Vincent takes a shine to Loic’s adored younger sister, Sophie (Emma De Caunes), a petite, tomboyish charmer whose adolescent grace is ripe for corruption.

Helmer brings matters to a head via interesting detours, although the “intense” button is sometimes cranked up too high to be completely believable. A mix of sex, death, arrest and career cacophony befalls the main characters before pic’s end.

De Caunes — daughter of TV personality and actor Antoine De Caunes — is a post-pubescent pixie with definite appeal, and lensing and production design effectively convey the contrast between haves and have-nots. Philippe Sarde’s score is a tad over-dramatic.

A Brother

(FRENCH)

Production: A Persona Films production, with participation of CNC. (International sales: Flach Pyramide Intl., Paris.) Produced by Serge Duveau. Directed, written by Sylvie Verheyde.

Crew: Camera (color), Antoine Roch; editor, Luce Grunenwaldt; music, Philippe Sarde; art direction, Fred Wayolle; sound (Dolby), Eric Tisserand. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Cinemas en France), May 18, 1997. Running time: 91 MIN.

With: Loic - Jeannick Gravelines
Sophie - Emma De Caunes
Vincent - Nils Tavernier
Virginie - Karole Rocher
Tony - Emmanuel Nicolas
With: Aurelie Berrier, Ann Gisel Glass.

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