Film Review: Brothers is effortless to watch


Filmed over the course of eight years, director Aslaug Holm documents the development of her two sons Markus and Lukas from childhood to adolescence in a longitudinal piece which captures the brothers’ thoughts, experiences and dreams.

Simply titled Brothers, the film records moments of Markus and Lucas’ childhood as a mark of personal history, taking note of the inevitability of time passing, by capturing her children growing up as a way of delaying time by preserving it in recorded memory. She places her sons in the same types of locations throughout the documentary and films them; in field of wildflowers, near a lake, near a school, as if Holm is using the constancy of landscapes to mark a passing of time. Narration from the two boys – who speak on their feelings of significant events, such as starting school – ties these moments together, making it an almost effortless to watch.

Holm’s narration echoes a similar sentiment of childhood passing too quickly from the perspective of a parent. The result is subtle, you almost don’t notice the children changing both physically and mentally until the film’s concludes.

Brothers uses scenes of the two boys playing near a river, rowing on a lake, and jumping in water as a metaphor for time flowing as a stream that only moves forward and never stops. Documentary as medium documents passages of captured time of which viewer have the pleasure of witnessing in exchange for the cost of their own personal time being lost, i.e. watching a film. Growing up or ageing is inevitable and the reality is that time is often lost by moments which slip through our fingers as seen represented by Holm capturing her son running his fingers through running waters.

At times Brothers feels a little tedious and slow, with Holm focusing on capturing Markus and Lucas on film in an almost ordinary mundane portrayal of their childhood that is most often missed or glossed over because of its simplicity. Brothers is made up home video, a personal archive of footage that has significance for the subjects themselves, Markus and Lukas, and the documentary filmmaker Holm. By bringing in an audience to view their lives; we as outsiders witness the changes in the boys from an almost unbiased interpretation of their upbringing that develops into an almost personal connection with the brothers as we watch them grow up. There is a resistance to the notion of time passing and despite the similarity of scenes throughout which focuses purely on her two sons, Holm weaves an intricate connection between her audience and her sons, brothers Markus and Lukas that leaves you wanting more.

Brothers screens at Antenna Documentary Film Festival on the following dates:
Brisbane, New Farm – Saturday 29th Oct, 8pm
Melbourne, Westgarth – Saturday 5th Nov, 8pm

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Review by Addy Fong.