The world of childhood presents an endlessly fascinating subject for filmmakers. Last year Tribeca presented Isild Le Besco's 1/2 Price (Demi-Tarif); this year in My Brother's Summer, Italian director Pietro Reggiani turns his bemused eye on the joys and torments of growing up. In the panorama of Italian cinema, which is currently enslaved by television producers, it is a refreshingly offbeat, independent comedy that entertains with unpretentious originality. Stylistically, too, it shows a strong, individual voice. Sergio (played by young Davide Veronese) is a nine-year-old only child. Though apparently well adjusted, he is nicknamed "the Lone Ranger" thanks to his solitary habits. His middle-class parents Anna and Paolo are going through a rough patch and unhappily debate whether to terminate Anna's unwanted pregnancy. During a long summer vacation in the country, the imaginative Sergio at first fiercely resists the prospect of a new sibling; then battles with an awful sense of guilt when his imaginary brother (Tommaso Ferro) fails to materialize. This impish figment of his hyperactive imagination refuses to go away, however, and comically becomes an inseparable if annoying companion. Reggiani, who is making his feature film debut, has a deliciously delicate touch with the story, which is told in brief scenes revolving around Sergio's many role-playing games. A difficult production history drew out the filming over five years, but making a virtue out of necessity, the story ends with an inspired coda flashing forward to much older actors.
Pietro Reggiani was born in Verona, Italy. He graduated in law and then he moved to Rome hoping to work as a screenwriter. After some time, he wrote and directed the short film The Book Junkie, which was nominated at the 1998 David di Donatello Awards. He started the production company Nuvola Film with Antonio Ciano. The company's name comes from Reggiani's
nickname as a child ("nuvola" means "cloud," as he rarely stayed on the ground of reality). He shot the first part of My Brother's Summer in 1998, but had to wait until 2003 to shoot the remaining section (when the boys are teenagers) because he wanted to rewrite the script. My Brother's Summer is his first feature film.