Brothers of the Night
Berlin International Film Festival
*BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY* - RIDM Montreal International Documentary Festival
FID Marseille Festival of Documentary Film
*SPECIAL JURY AWARD* - Olhar de Cinema, Curitiba IFF
*BEST DOCUMENTARY* - Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
*BEST DOCUMENTARY* - Bergen International Film Festival
ART OF THE REAL - Lincoln Center, New York
"A tender and empathetic hymn to the grim poetry of survival and the solidarity amongst the ostracised and the outsiders. " - Berlin International Film Festival
"Fascinating work of documentary" - Telerama
"Had Fassbinder shot a documentary about Viennese prostitutes, it would look like this... " - Filmstarts.de
This visually hypnotic and revealing documentary delves deep into the social truths of European gay culture, and offers a poignant glimpse into the lives of immigrant Romany youth, one of the most marginalized groups in contemporary Europe.
Armored with their leather jackets, good looks, and street savvy, the young Romany are in fact recent immigrants from Bulgaria who have wound up as hustlers in Vienna, perhaps reluctantly, after fleeing extreme poverty back home.
The racial prejudice and lack of opportunities they endured in their native Balkans has also shaped their personas to embrace theatrical, resilient skills rooted in their Romany heritage. And so these animated, yet inherently melancholic, boys easily play the roles their older Austrian clients expect of them -- the archetypically cool, mischievous, and reckless Romany boys. Propelled by over-sexualized, machismo chalga music, they seduce, boast about, and indulge in the perks of nightlife at a seedy Viennese bar.
Yet more confessional moments reveal a sense of shame and a nostalgia for home. And as the characters and their carefully mastered 'bad boy' appearances become more familiar, their impudence starts to seem prudent, and their boyishness reveals a strategy. Their manifested youth is caught between alluring fantasies and disillusionments.
This compassionate, astute, and multilayered film suggests the boys' redemption lies in their confident self-identity, their sense of brotherhood, and their innermost humanity.
88 minutes, in Bulgarian, Romany and German, with English subtitles. 2016
Related titles: Call Me Marianna
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