Shot with a dreamy fabulism that merges the gorgeous and the grotesque, “Indivisible,” the third feature from Edoardo De Angelis, draws on a rich vein of Italian cinematic history to deliver an adventurous ode to freedom and sisterhood.
In a pestilent suburb of Naples, the conjoined twins Viola and Daisy (Angela and Marianna Fontana), on the verge of 18, live with their grasping parents and support the family by singing at weddings and first holy communions. Part novelty act and part religious totem, the sisters — beautiful to look at and heavenly to listen to — are a perceived miracle that everyone wants to touch, their bodies constantly violated by the sick and the searching.
Yet even before a doctor offers to separate them, the sisters are pulling apart, their diverging desires expressed in a delicate vocabulary of gestures and glances. The performances of the young actors who play them (actual twins, though not conjoined) are the real miracles here, each one creating a distinct personality. A scene where Daisy is being seduced by a lizardlike agent (Gaetano Bruno) while Viola cringes in disgust is as funny as it is horrifying.
Sensitively and with subtle switches in tone, Nicola Guaglianone’s screenplay builds flesh, faith and family into a multi-walled prison. Catchy songs and a moody, woodwind-heavy score by Enzo Avitabile enrich a setting steeped in poverty, corruption and a perverse Catholicism. In this near-Gothic environment, even the heavy skies, trash-strewn beaches and weary roadside prostitutes seem appealingly strange and more than a little magical.
“I’ve tried to balance attraction and repulsion in each frame I have built for the film,” the director says in the press notes. I would say he has more than succeeded.
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