Siblings can be the light or bane of your life. But imagine being attached to yours, literally. Italian film Indivisible features a pair of twins conjoined at the hip – the spunky Daisy and more reserved Viola. The twins live in a small beach town and spend their days as singers, revered as symbols of hope and religious significance by the folks. They’re joined by their dysfunctional family, including their cigarette toting alcoholic mother, and their washed out songwriter father, who manages the sister act. They’re not perfect, but for what it’s worth, they’re doing pretty great.
Everything changes when the twins run into a Swedish doctor who claims to be able to separate them both without harm. Strong headed Daisy immediately wants the operation, while meek Viola hangs back, afraid that once they’re separated, Daisy will leave her in the dust. Their father is unhappy with Daisy’s decision, and the twins find out that he’s gambled away their money. Left with no choice, the twins run away from home, and embark on an epic adventure to chase their dreams.
The premise of Indivisible has all the makings of a soap opera and potential to go full on melodrama. But the beauty of it all is that it doesn’t, and always remains refreshingly real and heartfelt. I found myself falling completely in love with this film, down to the final moments, which you’ll all be happy to know, ends on a hopeful note.
The twins’ journey is reminiscent of a modern day dark fairytale, meeting some truly strange and sinister characters along the way, from a priest intent on keeping them as symbols for the church to a shady talent manager with a carnival of freaks and deviants and an appetite for feet. Everytime the twins seem like they’re about to fall victim though, they manage to just make it out alive, thanks to each other. Despite their differences, they do eventually manage to regain their trust in each other, and grow over the course of the film.
Nicola Guaglianone’s brilliant script delivers both humour and tenderness in equal doses. Much of the uncomfortable laughs are derived from the girls’ fairly odd parents, who are almost always at loggerheads. But even mum gets her redemption arc completed, and she manages to (barely) show that she is capable of loving the girls and wanting what’s best for them. Meanwhile, there’s never a dull moment as the audience is constantly rooting for the twins to succeed and get the operation done, while the ever present sense of stakes and risk that surrounds the girls threatening to cut short their journey, which keeps the tension high and viewers rooted to their cause.
The girls themselves are extremely charming and likable as characters and actors, and one cannot help but feel their siblingship as something extremely genuine (helped no doubt by the fact that they are played by real life siblings Angela and Marianna Fontana). One particularly memorable motif is the recurring mention of Los Angeles, and how Daisy intends it as her first visit after they get the operation done, and it ends up becoming a symbol of hope and motivation for the girls to carry on when all seems lost.
Perhaps these girls really are more than what they seem to be, because there is some serious cinema sorcery at work here. Without a doubt, Indivisible has been one of my favourites at the festival thus far, with its strong performances and immensely moving script. Kudos to the brilliant direction and cinematography, lending a deliciously dark atmosphere to the short but eventful journey that will remain with me for quite some time to come.
Indivisible plays on 5 and 6 October at various venues. Tickets available here.