Urban Cinefile
"Clark Gable was coming out of the MGM gate with his arms full of stuff from his dressing room and only the cop at the gate said goodbye "  -Rod Taylor on his early days in Hollywood
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Gabriele (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) is a wealthy young antique dealer who lives in a slick Parisian apartment. He is successful at business but less so at romance. His lover, Claire (Sandrine Dumas), is frustrated by his lack of emotion and his lack of openness about his upbringing. When a brochure comes to his Parisian office informing him of a sale of antiques at his family home in Italy, he leaps at the opportunity to return to the scene of his childhood. But his motives are clearly not entirely innocent. In a series of flashbacks, we learn that Gabriele and his brother Martino are illegitimate children, part of a second family that their sometime-father (Giancarlo Giannini) secreted away in a country home with their beloved, high-spirited mother (Valeria Golino). A tragedy changes their lives forever, and they are moved to their father's villa to live with his official family. The uneasy union of this extended family sows the seeds for Gabriele's adult actions.

“Like Two Crocodiles is a rich and beautifully textured study of family. The Italian industry may be in a state of cinematic disrepair, but if more films like this were made, the industry would have a chance to flourish, despite the fact that it's taken almost four years for the film to reach Australia. Featuring the sublime music of Stefano Caprioli , and the lush cinematography of Raffaele Mertes , Like Two Crocodiles is one of those deeply complex family dramas that come along all too seldom. Featuring some intricate performances especially by veteran Giannini who still mesmerises with his screen presence, this film is a detailed examination of a man coming to terms with a troubled past, and the piece builds up slowly to its stunning denouement. For connoisseurs of truly intelligent, provocative, yet subtle films, this Italian gem is a dazzling example.”
Paul Fischer

“There is an underlying charm to Like Two Crocodiles that provides a depth beyond the movie’s simple premise. A contemporary fable based loosely on the biblical tale of ‘Joseph and his brothers’, it is imbued with substance by genuinely powerful, and often poignant, performances. The sensitive, savvy direction of Giacomo Campiotti fully exploits the talents of his cast; and sublime, poetic cinematography - - from sweeping panoramas to poetically detailed close-ups - - guarantees the film’s aesthetic appeal. The narrative itself is more prosaic, but has no pretensions otherwise. It is a simple saga, providing the framework for explorations into love, hate, injustice, and revenge. The sepia-toned flashbacks are revealed chronologically, and the smooth unravelling of the story is ensured by masterful editing, which seamlessly segues between past and present. The film’s only unsatisfactory element lies in the issues that are not addressed. Revenge is the central theme, but does Bentivoglio’s Gabriele ever consider forgiveness? And is retribution entirely cathartic if it provokes no contrition? Such questions are never posed, but some scenes - - such as the seminal confrontation leading to the young Gabriele’s flight - - are palpably insightful. Overall, there is enough substance to evoke empathy with every character and the denouement, although predictable, is infused with a soaring spirit of hope and love.”
Brad Green

“In a prolonged prologue, a middle-aged man is dreaming, with languid tracking shots all through his fashion-magazine apartment. Intercut with this are sepia flashbacks to 30 years earlier, to an idyllic time when a boy and his doting mother sing children's songs about fairytale animals and two crocodiles. And his father comes to visit and promises that one day he will come back and never leave. There is much more to the flashbacks. The idyll is shattered when his mother dies in childbirth and he is powerless. In the meantime, the man has woken, dressed and breakfasted in his affluent isolation. And then the credits! This prologue gives us time to think about the issues and note the cinematic devices - the colour and monochrome, the choice of shots and angles, the editing and pace. And director Giacomo Campiotti uses devices with flair: hand-held camera work, blurred subjective shots for a baby's eye view... some of which draws attention to itself instead of to characters and plot. However, the plot becomes more intriguing; Gabriele (a morose Fabrizio Bentivoglio) takes a sudden journey back from Paris to his home in Italy as well as into his memories, and a complex story of a wealthy father favouring his illegitimate son over his other children emerges. The plot is intriguing and unpredictable, with enough complex relationships to give the film substance and for us to share, while not approving, Gabriele's actions. There is a bonus in seeing Valeria Golina as the mother and, especially, Giancarlo Giannini as the wilful father. A drama of moral choices, selfish choices and the working out of the consequences.”
Peter J. Malone

Email this article


Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0



CAST: Fabrizio Bentivoglio, Valeria Golino, Giancarlo Giannini, Ignazio Oliva.

DIRECTOR: Giacomo Campiotti

PRODUCER: Domenico Procacci

SCRIPT: Giacomo Campiotti, Alexander Adabachan, Marco Piatti


EDITOR: Roberto Missiroli

MUSIC: Stefano Caprioli (Songs by Lucio Dalia)


RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 27, 1998 (Sydney only; other states to follow)

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020