BROTHERHOOD opens with a simmering intensity – and never lets go until the end credits roll.
Writer, Director and Producer Meryam Joobeur has created a mesmerizing masterpiece – all in just 25 minutes.
The film has garnered 20 wins along with 6 nominations and has, well deservingly, been Shortlisted for a 2020 Academy Award.
We meet Mohamed (Mohamed Grayaa). He is a shepherd in rural Tunisia who is married with three beautiful freckled faced sons.
The film opens up with him and his middle son tending to a sheep who was gravely injured by wolves. He tells the son “you’re going to slaughter it” and to “strengthen your heart”. Mohamed and his son return home to find his eldest son Malek (Malek Mechergui) has returned home from the war in Syria – and he brings with him a mysterious young Syrian bride.
Mohamed is deeply shaken by his son’s return. Father and son tensions are built upon through raw performances from this brilliant ensemble cast. Each actor fills every silent moment with a life and struggle all of their own.
The film is equally beautiful – and equally heartbreaking. Mesmerizing – you can’t take your eyes away from the screen for a moment.
Visually stunning Cinematography (Vincent Gonneville) takes us into this desolate land far away from our own home. The beautiful use of sound needs to be noted – including the dangling chimes blowing in the wind (chimes which include a fork tied to a string).
Family dynamics and dysfunction are explored like a Greek tragedy. The black sheep has come home to the shepherd. Like all families across the globe, we see what happens when we hold onto anger and resentment.
Joobeur reminds us that there is a point of no return – for Mohamed – and for all of us.