While Enrico was raised in poverty by his grandmother, his younger brother and fraternal twin, Lorenzo (Jacques Perrin), was adopted by a butler who worked for a wealthy man and was able to provide the finer things in life. Earnest and hard-working, Enrico becomes a journalist in Rome while Lorenzo idles away his time in Florence, finding himself at a loss after the butler can no longer provide for him. The brothers share a loving relationship, but Enrico's efforts to help Lorenzo are cut short when the younger brother becomes gravely ill.
Critical reaction to Family Diary was mixed, but included such praise as Time magazine's comment that "The color photography tactfully subtends the mood of green and yellow melancholy, and director Zurlini develops a very real and moving relationship between the hero and older brother." Bosley Crowther, writing in The New York Times, offered the opinion that Mastroianni "binds this picturization of heartbreaks into a throbbing documentation of personal grief."
The exquisite, dark-hued cinematography of Giuseppe Rotunno was universally praised and won a "Silver Ribbon" as the year's best from Italy's National Syndicate of Film Journalists. The movie itself was co-winner of the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival (shared with Andre Tarkovsky's My Name Is Ivan).
Producer: Goffredo Lombardo
Director: Valerio Zurlini
Screenplay: Valerio Zurlini, Mario Missiroli, from novel by Vasco Pratolini
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Original Music: Goffredo Petrassi
Editing: Mario Serandrei
Art Director: Flavio Mogherini
Costume Designer: Gaia Romanini
Principal Cast: Marcello Mastroianni (Enrico), Jacques Perrin (Lorenzo), Salvo Randone (Salocchi), Serena Vergano (Hospital nun), Valeria Ciangottini (Enzina), Sylvie (Grandmother).
by Roger Fristoe