My Brother, My Sister, Sold For A Fistful Of Lire

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

Pia Dilisa goes in search of her long-lost brother and sister, and documentary filmmaker Basile Sallustio (the son of Pia's sister-in-law) throws some light on a particularly dark episode in recent Italian history. As Italy staggered under the weight of post-WWII economic collapse, tens of thousands of Italian children were taken from their own families...read more

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Pia Dilisa goes in search of her long-lost brother and sister, and documentary filmmaker Basile Sallustio (the son of Pia's sister-in-law) throws some light on a particularly dark episode in recent Italian history. As Italy staggered under the weight of

post-WWII economic collapse, tens of thousands of Italian children were taken from their own families and adopted by Americans foster parents the auspices of a Catholic charitable organization. Nine-year-old Dominic and seven-year-old Antoinetta were two such children who, along with their sister Lina, were packed onto a donkey and taken from their father's farm, destination unknown. Pia, ten at the time, vividly recalls the moment: It was the last she ever saw of her brother and sisters. Forty-five years later, Pia is still wondering what became of them, and is haunted by a persistent

rumor: Her brother and sister were in fact sold for cold, hard cash as part of a clandestine industry sanctioned by officials of the Catholic Church. So with "a heavy heart and full of curiosity," 55-year-old Pia embarks on a search that unfolds like a good mystery. She follows leads, questions

oddly defensive priests whom she suspects know more than they're telling, and ultimately travels to the United States for what she hopes will be a family reunion. Pia's story is both fascinating and heartbreaking, but Sallustio's approach to the material is unbearably pretentious: His sense of

self-importance very nearly makes Pia's heartfelt quest seem ridiculous. Pia's own poignant commentary is smothered under her nephew's ridiculously mock-heroic voice-over, and throughout the film her narrative is interrupted by inexplicable footage of a central Italian ritual in which a rooster is

buried up to its neck in sand and whacked like a pinata. (In English and Italian, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Pia Dilisa goes in search of her long-lost brother and sister, and documentary filmmaker Basile Sallustio (the son of Pia's sister-in-law) throws some light on a particularly dark episode in recent Italian history. As Italy staggered under the weight of p… (more)
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