Edoardo De Angelis’s story of conjoined twins and the cost of freedom will be a hit in the USA.
Eighteen-year-old conjoined twins Dasy and Viola (twins Angela and Marianna Fontana) have been supporting their family ever since Papà figured out they could sing, and he and Mamma couldn’t have been wasting the girls’ hard-earned money any more efficiently if that’s what they’d set out to do. The beautiful girls have singing voices to match, and can earn as much as 80,000€ a year performing at weddings and first holy communions; the fact that they are part pop stars and part side-show geeks make them all the more marketable.
Their home in the impoverished seaside town of Castel Volturno (north of Naples) is furnished with top of the line everything and Peppe (Massimiliano Rossi) is not apt to do anything that will stop this gravy train. His wife Titti (played by David di Donatello winner Antonia Truppo) is a drunk and possibly a whore (she’s accused of being one and doesn’t do anything to prove herself anything else) and the setup is working for her as well. When the girls were little, life was pretty good for them too. They loved singing and each other and didn’t know any other way of living.
But when a doctor tells them that there is no reason that they shouldn’t have been separated at birth (and should be separated now), growing desires for independent living explode. Dad decides he’d better get the Genie back in the bottle; but can he?
De Angelis has packed a lot into this family drama and has done a splendid job formulating a narrative that while, completely unusual, is absolutely identifiable for anyone who has ever grown to adulthood. We all go through it, separating ourselves from our childhood homes, our parents, and our siblings. Of course it’s easier for some of us than others, and the sisters find themselves in different states of readiness to claim autonomy. We don’t have to be physically conjoined or the family breadwinner to feel guilty for abandoning our childhoods, but how willing are any of us to accept the pain that comes with it?