Bror | Brother
Directed by Isabella Carbonell
15 mins, Sweden, 2019
Swedish/Arabic languages, English subs
Few gay-themed films show the verbal and emotional negotiation that leads up to sex. Off hand, I can think of one and that’s Panquecito. While Andrew Haigh’s Weekend depicts in intimate detail the negotiation that follows sex as two men figure out together what the sex meant or will mean, there’s nothing about the runup to the act itself, which is what they both had initially assumed was a one-night stand. Who needs to talk before one of those?
Isabella Carbonell’s Bror, on the other hand, reveals to us nothing but that conversation, as two young men, who are obviously very close, figure themselves and each other out and what they want in what feels like real, authentic time. For example, Khalid, an Iranian immigrant, shows Nico, a native Swede, the trailer to Brokeback Mountain as a means of explanation and persuasion. Nico is worried that they’ll be gay-bashed; Khalid thinks that’s silly; that doesn’t happen in Stockholm. Director Carbonell allows this scene to play in real time, with no score, the only tinny, indiscernible diegetic sound being the trailer overheard by us on the boys’ shared earbuds. The camera pans back and forth over the pair’s faces in close up as they watch and listen. She also allows us to find Khalid’s strategy comical or dubious or touching; it’s up to us. The scene ends with some social film criticism: A visibly skeptical Nico wonders if Brokeback‘s unhappy conclusion has something to do with his fear of being openly with Khalid in public. Khalid, reading against the grain perhaps, insists that the film does have a happy ending, if we look at it the right way. We’re also left wondering if this film we’re watching will have one, too, right up until a cut to black, right before the credits, as the soundtrack alone provides the answer. The sexual denouement then takes place out of sight, and in our imaginations.
This is a higher quality copy than the one on that other guy’s site, and you can also download it directly.
Or, you can watch it on Dekkoo via Amazon Prime.
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