Family Diary is a 1962 Italian film directed by Valerio Zurlini and based on the novel by Vasco Pratolini. It tells the story of two brothers (played by Marcello Mastroianni and Jacques Perrin) who are brought up apart from each other at their mother’s death.
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An understated film with Zurlini's leisurely pace unfolding gradually the overcoming of emotional alienation between two brothers. Mastroianni and Perrin carry the task with admirable commitment against a background of decaying family values and ascendant fascism in society. The tropes of the disease and the sanatorium highlight this social malaise and the splendid à la De Chirico photography aptly undergirds it.
Mastroianni and Sylvie give performances of great beauty but the director skips over key storytelling details. There is a narration that is supposed to fill undramatized gaps but only serves to drain the film of emotional force. You get long passages of dolorousness without contrast. Music is overused to vary tone instead.