Edoardo De Angelis' Indivisible, starring Angela and Marianna Fontana as conjoined twin sisters, is a stirring and haunting family drama. The film brilliantly explores the bonds of family against the backdrop of fame and talent as two sisters who lived as one are given the chance to finally lead separate distinct lives. Kino Lorber releases the film on Blu-ray with a terrific video presentation, an excellent audio mix, and an informative making-of featurette to round out the bonus features. It's a stirring drama that doesn't pull punches but is heartfelt, endearing, and damned impressive filmmaking. Recommended.
"Sometimes you have to spill blood, but when it's done, you're better off than before."
Families can be a terrific source for cinema. Everyone's got one - or even if you don't, you've got some semi-close friendships that acts as a surrogate family. Ideally, a family should be your support base for love and encouragement and a foundation for dark times. But that sadly isn't always the case. With Indivisible, director Edoardo De Angelis explores the pitfalls of exploitive family members and friends as two conjoined twin sisters struggle to reconcile their relationship with one another after the chance for fame and separation presents itself. Through tight storytelling and a pair of incredible performances from lead actresses Angela and Marianna Fontana, Indivisible becomes a stirring and powerful family drama.
Daisy and Viola (Marianna and Angela Fontana respectively) are beautiful sisters with impressive singing voices. Since they were young, their father Peppe (Massimiliano Rossi) and mother Titti (Antonia Truppo) used their daughters' talents to provide for the family. By booking them at local communion celebrations, birthday parties, or secular events, Peppe has effectively exploited his daughters financially all their lives. They're not just identical twins; they conjoined at the hip making them something of a freak show novelty for people to stare at or touch without permission rather than be appreciated for their genuine singing talent. Everything changes for Daisy and Viola when a Swedish doctor informs them that they can easily be separated - and should have been long ago. Now determined to experience a normal life with a chance for love and infinite possibilities, the sisters embark on a quest to secure 20,000 Euros for the operation.
What I loved the most about Indivisible is the film's searing examination of exploitation. Emotionally, financially, physically, these sisters have been exploited at every turn. Their parents and uncles live off their work. The local shill preacher uses the girls to stage religious passion plays that draw in poor parishioners who will pay anything to be blessed or experience a "miracle." Everything changes the day that they not only find out they could be separated, but also a successful record producer is interested in the girls and their talents. Are these new influences in their lives altruistic? Or is this doctor looking to expand his own fame while the record producer seeks to expand his own bottomless coffers? It's a film that makes you question the motivations of people and proves to be a bit of an eye-opening experience if you're interested in a self-examination exercise.
With the tight and to-the-point direction of Angelis and the film's impressive script, sister actresses Angela Fontana and Marianna Fontana deliver in a memorable pair of performances. Like true siblings, their characters go through moments of strength and weakness. Depending on the situation, one is stronger than the other and pushes the other to be better. The film's second act is a brilliant play of how each girl's individual personality can shine in any given situation and how they rely on one another physically and emotionally. Equally impressive is Massimiliano Rossi as their father, Peppe. He's a creative at heart. A songwriter who wrote all of the music for his daughters, but only they get the credit. On the one hand, you hate him for what he's done to his daughters, but at the same time, you feel for the guy because he hates himself so completely that he can't bear to lose them. His journey to find them after they run away is as much an attempt at a reconciliation with himself and his past as it is a quest to save his children and maybe finally do what is right for them and not just himself.
Indivisible is not a fun film. There is very little levity through this story, but at the same time, I wouldn't call it overly depressing or dour. If anything it's an enlightening conversation about the course of human relationships and how they can change. That change may be for the better or for worse, but just the same the film rests on an idea for hope and possibility. It's a hell of a film. I'd heard of Indivisible when it made the festival rounds a couple of years ago, but I never got a chance to catch it. I'm glad I finally got to see it because it's a damn impressive piece of filmmaking with two incredible leading performances. Absolutely keep this on your radar, it's well worth checking out should you find yourself with the opportunity to sit down with it.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Indivisible arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lober. Pressed onto a Region A locked BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard Blu-ray case. The disc loads to a static image main menu featuring traditional navigation options.
Indivisible lands on Blu-ray with a pleasing 1080p 2.35:1 transfer. Shot and finished at 2K, the image displays terrific clarity, robust colors, and beautifully inky black levels with excellent shadow separation. Facial features, clothing, the details of the rough sea-side town where the girls live are all on display. The van they travel from gig to gig in shows all the hallmarks of age and wear and tear with obvious patches of touchup paint - it's a nice little thematic detail for the film that comes through cleanly within the image. Colors are a bit drab, but that's purposeful. When the girls are at a party of a singing engagement there is a garish artifice to the surroundings with plenty of primaries and rich colors that are the opposite of the day-to-day lives they lead. Skin tones are healthy and natural looking. Black levels are deep and inky with strong shadows giving the image a notable sense of three-dimensional depth. The record producer's yacht is a prime example with sickening shades of yellow and brown. Some slight aliasing and a little bit of video noise crops up when the girls are in the water near the end, but those are the only small detrimental anomalies of note.
Indivisible sports an effective and natural Italian DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix with English Subtitles. The film is very dialogue-focused, so surround activity isn't always the first priority. However, surrounds are nicely active and become a bit more aggressive and pronounced when necessary. The scene where the girls are swimming towards shore is an incredibly effective moment to the mix where they're screaming to support one another to keep swimming while also dealing with the sounds of lapping water and muffled sounds whenever the camera dips underwater. Scoring is subdued but present, keeping the mix active when necessary. Levels are spot on. A DTS-HD MA 2.0 track was also included, and while its basics are on the level, dialogue, and essential sound effects, I felt the default 5.1 mix was absolutely the better of the two with a more richly defined soundscape.
While Indivisible didn't come packed with a huge selection of bonus features, the making of behind the scenes documentary is solid and works beyond being a simple EPK talking head piece.
Indivisible isn't an easy movie, as it turns a tough eye on the relationship of fame and fortune with family. Dramatic without being completely depressing or unapproachable, the film is packed with terrific performances and proves to be an impressive odyssey of discovery. Kino Lorber brings Indivisible to Blu-ray in terrific order with a fantastic video transfer, a great audio mix, and a nice making-of documentary to round out the bonus features. It may not be a film for everyone, it's hardly a happy story, but Indivisible is an easy one to call Recommended.