Owen Gleiberman
April 07, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Son Frere

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
95 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/02/04
performer
Eric Caravaca, Bruno Todeschini, Catherine Ferran, Maurice Garrel, Antoinette Moya
director
Patrice Chéreau
distributor
Strand Releasing
author
Patrice Chéreau
genre
Foreign Language

We gave it a B

In Paris, a middle-aged man (Bruno Todeschini) contracts a mysterious blood disease. He is in and out of the hospital, living under a vague yet looming death sentence. The man, a bit of an intolerant pill, is heterosexual; his younger brother (Eric Caravaca), who becomes his caretaker, is gay. Those facts of orientation are far from incidental to the disarming drama of Patrice Chèreau’s Son Frère. Though the disease in question is not AIDS, it is very much meant to feel like AIDS. Chéreau’s radical premise is that the illness still carries hints of stigmatization that can be undone by allowing us to experience it, metaphorically, as a ”heterosexual disease.” Son Frère is hushed, clinical, grimly paced, and moving.

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