Film Review: Indivisible (2016)

Indivisible 2

Indivisible is the story of two conjoined twins nearing their 18th birthday. The conjoined element is obviously the draw card of the feature, providing insight into an unique and peculiar theme. The movie opens with one twin masturbating next to her slumbering sister, cutting to the experience of a conjoined early morning urination. This lets the viewer know that this is going to be a voyeuristic, honest exploration into a rare and fascinating condition.

The twins are the meal card of their deadbeat parents and two uncles. Their father Peppe (Massimiliano Rossi looking like a homeless Thom Yorke) writes vaguely morose songs for the girls to perform at parties and events. The mother, while outwardly seeming to care for her daughters, is happy to let them be used, their fees helping to facilitate her cannabis habit.

The superstitious small town inhabitants, believing the girls to be good luck, are more than happy to pay for their recitals and, after the singing has ended, grab at them without consent, believing physical touch can actualise good luck for themselves. Meanwhile, the local priest has his own metaphorical hands around the girls, parading them at his sermons as religious icons and evidence of god’s good will towards his congregation.Indivisible poster

With all the manipulators in her life and on the cusp of adulthood, Daisy (Angela Fontana) has a crisis of independence and identity. Her sister Viola (Marianna Fontana) sympathises – after all they feel differently about basic things such as alcohol and food choices. Part of the fun of the film is experiencing the two real and different personalities of the twins flesh themselves out. By the film’s conclusion it is easy to tell them apart by only their mannerisms.

A huge spanner is thrown into the works of the toxic yet functional environment when the girls find out from a doctor they should have been separated at birth and that such a procedure would be simple. They would only require the fare to Sweden for the operation. Daisy’s yearning for independence grows stronger while Viola is somewhat on the fence, worried mostly that she will lose the person she is closest to in the world. Their emotional attachment is the beating heart of this film and unlike other ‘love stories’ isn’t just touching, but absolutely fascinating on a psychological and intellectual level. Would separation be a freedom, or a burden for two girls who possess a unique bond of empathy?

With its complicated structure this is a story that tries to be a deep mosaic of genres but instead ends up not quite excelling within any of them. There are elements of tragedy, comedy, horror, family drama and throwbacks to freak show carnival. All these elements are layered with catholic theological overtones. Instead of the risqué arty film it strives to be, we end up with a disjointed tangram of ideas and scenes. An interesting idea is spoiled by a script lacking creative ambition.

The high point of the film is the acting. An entire cast of relativeunknowns deliver quality performances.  The casting of the girls themselves, Angela and Marianna Fontana as Daisy and Viola respectively, is a stroke of genius. This is their debut feature. They both give dizzingly good displays of complicated emotions that go well and truly past teenage malaise. Underlying the fictional existential crisis of separation their characters face, it would seem a shame to not see them paired together on screen in the future.

Indivisible screens as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival from 14th September to 8th October at Palace Cinemas. For session times see here.

3 blergs
3 blergs

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