Winner of the prestigious Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno FF, this intimate documentary shot in Bosnia by a Czech/Italian director depicts a complex story of three brothers growing up in the shadow of their strict father, a radical Islamist preacher.
Czech Republic, Italy | 2021 | 97 min
PRODUCTION: Pavla Janouskova Kubeckova – nutprodukce; Nefertiti Film
SCREENPLAY: Francesco Montagner, Alessandro Padovani
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Prokop Soucek
EDITING: Valentina Cicogna, Klara Tasovska, Jorge Sanchez Calderon
SOUND: Daniela Bassani, Marzia Cordo, Adam Levy
Three young men born and raised as shepherds in the Bosnian countryside face a different reality once their father Ibrahim, a radical Islamist preacher, is convicted of terrorism by a court of law. He is sentenced to two years in prison and the brothers are left by themselves. Although their father hands them very precise tasks and loads of heavy work, they soon realise they also have an unexpected amount of freedom. In the absence of Ibrahim’s commandments, they see their lives change drastically. Two years to shape their own masculinity and choose their own paths before the father will return and impose different realities. Filmed over the course of four years, the film is a beautiful emotional progression revealing major differences between each of the boys’ identities and ideals.
The very first idea of filming BROTHERHOOD came up about five years ago when I saw a short reportage on Italian TV in which Ibrahim and his three sons were interviewed. I was immediately drawn to the contrast between their peaceful, idyllic lifestyle as shepherds and the imminent danger of the radical ideas Ibrahim preached. My second thought was about the boys. I started to question what it means to grow up with such a father. The boys reminded me of my youth, which I also spent in a rural environment, soaked in a feeling of frustration about being stuck and a secret desire to run away.
Festivals & Awards (selection)
Locarno IFF, 2021 – Golden Leopard | São Paulo IFF, 2021 | Ji.hlava IDF, 2021 – Main Award in the Czech Joy Competition; Best Cinematography | Verzio HRFF 2021 – Special Mention | Rotterdam IFF, 2022 | ZagrebDOX, 2022 | Cleveland IFF, 2022 | CPH:DOX 2022
Francesco Montagner studied Documentary Directing at Prague’s renowned film school FAMU where he currently teaches. In 2014, he directed ANIMA RESISTENZA, his debut feature documentary about the Italian animator Simone Massi. The film was presented at the 71. Venice Film Festival and awarded with the Venice Classics Award for the Best Documentary on Cinema.