- Attori: Anthony Mackie, Larry Gilliard Jr., Duane Boutte, Daniel Sunjata, Alex Burns
- Regista: Rodney Evans
- Formato: Colore, Schermo panoramico, Import
- Audio: Inglese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
- Lingua: Inglese
- Sottotitoli: Francese
- Regione: Regione 2 (Ulteriori informazioni su Formati DVD.)
- Formato immagine: 1.85:1
- Numero di dischi: 1
- Studio: BQHL Éditions
- Durata: 90 minuti
- ASIN: B000JJS7LQ
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 222.319 in Film e TV (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Film e TV)
Brother To Brother [Edizione: Francia]
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Brother To Brother, 1 DVD, 90 minutes
Brother to Brother : jeune peintre noir de talent, homosexuel rebelle, Perry Williams vit à New-York. Rejeté par sa famille et ses amis il rencontre Richard Bruce Nugent, poète et peintre réputé. Légende vivante de la renaissance de Harlem. L'Homme qui fut le compagnon de route de Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston et Wallace Thurman. A ses côtés Perry découvre le sens de la lutte...
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Anthony Mackie plays Perry, a young, gay, black artist struggling to find his place in this world and his own community. Supported unconditionally by his best friend Marcus and another friend Jim, Perry spends the early part of the film wandering around, seemingly going through the motions, but unsure of the meaning behind it all. Then he meets Bruce Nugent, an aging artist and writer, who attempts to guide Perry through this tricky path of self-discovery. In doing so, Bruce illuminates his life back in the 1920's, in Harlem, during the grand renaissance when blacks, unprecendentally, began to blossom in all areas.
The film is the most effective in these moments of flashback, an oft-overused convention that works very well in this film. As Bruce tells his stories, we see parts of Harlem, and the people who worked to buck conventions in trying to produce art that accurately reflected their authentic experience. The actors playing the main people of Bruce's social set are incredible, from Daniel Sunjata who plays Langston Hughes to Aunjanue Ellis who captures the zeal and life of Zora Neal Hurston. It is baudy, risky, and works to great effect. As we see Perry affected by these stories, we, as an audience, are also equally affected. This definitely has all of the hallmarks of an independent film, adding a rawness of realism to the story.
Rodney Evans first work is a promising, affecting tale, one that reaches beyond race lines, and will land deftly into your heart. Soon after watching "Brother to Brother" I found myself on Amazon, looking at the works of these people and ordering them for myself. You will too, as well as wanting to add this treasure of a movie into your collection.
As the story begins, Perry (Anthony Mackie) has already been thrown out of his father's home for being gay and has just had a heated discussion with another classmate during Lit class after volunteering information that a black male literary legend from the past was gay. This classmate of Perry's represents a segment of the black community hostle to the idea that black gay men do exist and are sometimes unwelcomed. Balancing out this hostile classmate is Perry's long-time straight friend, Marcus (Larry Gilliard) who kinda goes against the popular notion that every person of African decent is a homophobe. He is dependable and supportive, but he does not quite understand where Perry is always coming from when he talks about the ill treatment of some "brothers" but he can understand the obstacles Perry is facing as a black artist in the artworld who much like the world of publishing is often both intentionally and unintentionally prejudiced (!). All this and Perry beginning a brief relationship with a white peer who may have a kinda of fetish thing for black guys.
In walks a figure from the past, a "black" undiscovered gay hero of the Harlem Renaissance, Richard Bruce Nugent (the great Roger Robinson) who teaches Perry that every thing he is now dealing with in his life were the same issues face by a group of talented young black writers of 1920's Harlem Renaissance heyday. Nugent tells stories that bring to life the whirl of days of Niggerati Manor and its inhabitants like Langston Hughes (Daniel Sunjata) who was black and proud and celebrated black beauty long before the black protest movements of the 1960's and in whose coded poems sometimes celebrated the love, "Beauty," and admiration of one black man for another black man,Zora Neale Hurston (Aunjanue Ellis) whose talent and charisma is capture well in the film, Wallace Thurman (Ray Ford) who was gay and possessed of an surperior intellect that rivaled anyone past and present and black and white, and of course Nugent himself as a young man (Duane Boutte) who was talented but refused to deny his identity and make the same sacrifices Langston Hughes did to become a well known writer and the Dean of Black American Letters. Through Nugent, Perry learns pretty universal thems as believing in yourself, not compromising your vision and integrity to cater to someone else's idea of how they think things should be done, and self pride despite prejudices.
I am happy Rodney Evans made this movie his way without compromising his beliefs and values to do it. From such a small budget to make the film came a movie rich in texture and meaning, especially with the absence of gay men of color often being ignored in the media, mainstream and mainstream gay, baring the ocassional tokenism of a mouthly gay magazine and film.
In Makie, Robinson, Sunjata, Ellis, Ford, and Boutte and Rodney Evans's care and skill, I saw my face and its inherent beauty that is often denied. That was nice!!!
I can certainly understand the frustration of some who complain that the black gay male characters in the film seem drawn exclusively towards white boyfriends or prospective lovers, HOWEVER, I do think they are overlooking the fact that the most meaningful relationship in the film, although not sexual, is between a young gay black man, and an an older gay black man. The more mature gay man who defends himself by referring to himself as "Legendary" when confronted with the description of being "Elderly" is truly an oasis in the desert for this starved young man. This young man of course has encountered a very cruel reality so often a part of being gay in the USA. His horrendously homophobic father catches him with another boy in his room and ejects him from his house and his life. This "Legendary" man comes along, who of course is not a fictional character but patterned after the very real Bruce Nugent, who is down on his luck, and living in a shelter where the young man works while attending school. He is so much better a role model for this young man, who could have easily given up and taken his life in a weak moment given the rejection of his family. There are some cute moments of playful flirtation on the part of Nugent towards the boy, but it is not at all threatening. The young man soaks up the experience of the older man and learns so much from him. It is so sad our society for the most part does not revere the elderly as the young man in this film does, the elderly have so much to impart on the young but our culture with its obnoxious
values, it's obsession with youth and beauty and money, does little to encourage these kinds of relationships.
I felt that the blending of black and white reflecting those Harlem Renaissance days with modern day New York City in full color was flawless and fascinating. The editing was perfect.
These brave men such as Nugent are part of the reason we have our freedoms today. They dared to be themselves at a time not known for it's enlightenment. They paved the way for us.
Anthony Mackie was magnificent in the role of the young man who is the main character. I found it interesting that the director wanted him for the part of the straight male best friend and Mackie wanting to stretch as an actor, informed the director he was only seeking to play the lead.
This took much courage on the part of Mackie, who it is emphasized by the director, is not gay, to take on this challenge. I'm certain he found out who his true friends in life were when he took this role. We all remember how risky it was for an actor back in the 80s to play a gay part, it could destroy their career, so fortunately times have changed.
I thought it was gutsy for Russell Crowe to play gay back in the early 90s in "The Sum of Us" and he is such a brilliant actor he made us all believe he was truly gay. I thought Mackie handled this so beautifully and now want to see " She Hate Me" and his other films. It must be wonderful for young gay people to see this film where the gay guy is portrayed as an articulate black man who is certainly a winner, while a straight black male classmate who is threatened by the main characters sexuality, comes off as abusive, immature, and obnoxious, and I was not surprised that his fury would lead to his being part of a "fag bashing" scene. He is a total coward and a wimp hiding behind his hooded sweatshirt while his buddies beat up the young gay man.
Also excellent were Roger Robinson as the present day Bruce Nugent, and
Duane Boutte, as the younger Nugent enjoying the Harlem Renaissance. I thought the scene where you see the fatasy the older Nugent has of approaching a handsome and sexy young black man who is seated waiting for a subway train was excellent. On screen the younger Nugent makes the advance offering to paint his portrait, and the picture goes back and forth from black and white to color. There is no risk as it is only in the imagination of the present day Nugent, so we forgive the fact that it seems a bit far fetched that the stranger is so charmed by the approach, especially when he is seated alongside two other men. I am not aware of having seen either Robertson or Boutte in other films but will keep and eye out for them. They are also very credible as the same person.
I must also finally commend the skills of the director Rodney Evans who did a wonderful job giving birth to this amazing film. He had a vision in his head and it obviously took lots of hard work to get this done. I enjoyed the special feature where he explained all that was involved and the process. I understand he is a new director so I will be watching to see where his path takes him. I was fascinated when he spoke of showing this film to an audience of students who initially expressed blatant homophobia and outrage and how those sam kids stayed with it, and by the end he had won them over and they viewed the gay character sympathetically. He felt there outrage may have been in part due to the fact the main character was not a obvious stereotype which they could have dismissed as a clown, but he resembled them. He was masculine, and was a cool brother.
One last thing before I close the MUSIC was phenomenal,it just went perfectly with the film. It just drew you in an created a wonderful atmosphere. I can certainly see why this film drew the praise and the awards it did. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has an open mind and an open heart, it made me cry, it is so touching and I can't find fault with any of it!!!!