20 November 2013
Brando is an 11-year-old boy whose family has just moved to a new home in Rome. His parents, both university professors, are estranged and Brando is exploited by both parents as they are involved in quarrels and recriminations with each other. His mother, Flora, suffers from depression. Michele, his father, is immature and absent. The situation becomes more complicated when Michele begins dating Lisetta, a girl he has known for years. Brando is asked to be complicit (to accept and manage that betrayal), which makes him very uncomfortable. When Michele finally leaves the house, Flora attempts suicide and never recovers from her psychosis. Brando then begins his most difficult period. In the past he was sent to his paternal grandmother who, despite her enormous affection for Brando, is no longer able to take care of him. Eventually, Brando is declared legally abandoned and is given to a family house (an orphanage). Michele accepts the court's decision. His reasons being that firstly, he does not want his son entrusted to his maternal grandparents in Catalonia, who Michele feels will not provide proper care to the boy. Secondly he wants to assuage Lisetta, who has recently moved into Michele's home, as she feels the same about the grandparents. The arrival in the family House puts Brando in a state of deep distress. He develops enuresis, which leads him to become the laughing stock of other children. Brando finds refuge in idolizing his heroes in Real Madrid and wrestling. One night he decides to escape and go to the hospital to visit his sick mother, but in the grip of her hallucinations and presumably still wrongly believing that Brando endorses the relationship between his father and Lisetta, she refers to him as a "bad boy" because she considers him an accomplice of the father. She also accuses him of theft in front of a nurse. The child hasn't heard from his grandmother, due to social workers declaring her as unreliable (or as implied, forgetting him), leading to the fact that she might have no way to contact him. After about a year of staying in the family home, Brando receives a proposal to go into foster care with the family of a man he knew whilst living in his former home. The couple had a son who passed away recently, and despite the affection that the couple and their relatives show Brando, the boy rejects them, fearing he will be abandoned again, and worried that the pair want him as a replacement for their deceased son. After a few months, Michele visits Brando, who expects good news, convinced that his father has come to take him home. Instead, Michele now seems totally uninterested in Brando, and is only excited at the arrival of a new child he is expecting with Lisetta. He reaffirms that he has no plans to take Brando back to his old home. Brando then agrees to be sent into foster care with the couple who had proposed to receive him, but not before he reiterates his desire that he not be considered a substitute for their dead son. Surrounded by the love that is in his new family, Brando becomes happy again.