|Brother to Brother|
|Directed by||Rodney Evans|
|Written by||Rodney Evans|
|Produced by||Rodney Evans|
|Edited by||Sabine Hoffmann|
|Music by||Barney McAll|
Marc Anthony Thompson
|Distributed by||Wolfe Releasing|
Brother to Brother is a 2004 film written and directed by Rodney Evans and released in 2004. The film debuted at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival before playing the gay and lesbian film festival circuit, with a limited theatrical release in late 2004.
Black art student Perry (Anthony Mackie) who lives in the college dormitory after his parents bar him from home when they discover he is gay. He is romantically pursued by another student but his prospective boyfriend, who is European-American, says something he considers racist so he ends the relationship. At a social loose end, He befriends an elderly, impoverished African-American man named Bruce (Roger Robinson), whom he discovers was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Through recalling his friendships with other important Harlem Renaissance figures Langston Hughes (Daniel Sunjata), Aaron Douglas (Leith M. Burke), Wallace Thurman (Ray Ford) and Zora Neale Hurston (Aunjanue Ellis), Bruce chronicles some of the challenges he faced as a young, black, gay writer in the 1920s. Perry discovers that the challenges of homophobia and racism he faces in the early 21st century closely parallel Bruce's.
The film was inspired by a 1991 anthology titled Brother to Brother: New Writing by Black Gay Men. The editing of the book was started by Joseph Beam and, when he died in 1988, finished by Essex Hemphill. Evans chose the title. In an interview after the film's release, Evans said: "I thought of the film as a cinematic corollary to that book, which looked at Black gay life from different perspectives. I thought the piece was about relationships between Black men; the relationships were not necessarily sexual and the men were not necessarily gay."
- Anthony Mackie as Perry
- Roger Robinson as Bruce
- Alex Burns as Jim
- Kevin Jackson as Isaiah - College Professor
- Billoah Greene as Rahsan
- Brad Bailey as Subway Grifter (billed as Brad Baily)
- Brian Everett Chandler as Mr. Williams
- Shantell Herndon as Classroom Girl #1
- Ryan Michelle Bathe as Classroom Girl #2
- Duane Boutte as Young Bruce (billed as Duane Boutté)
- Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Marcus (billed as Larry Gilliard Jr.)
- Oni Faida Lampley as Evelyn
- James Martinez as Julio - Perry's Boyfriend in Flashbacks
- Lucas Papaelias as Danny
- Daniel Sunjata as Langston Hughes
- Ray Ford as Wally (Wallace Thurman)
- Randy Frazier as Tom
- Carlton J. Smith as Homophobic Subway Preacher (billed as Carlton Smith)
- Lance Reddick as James Baldwin
- Chad L. Coleman as El (billed as Chad Coleman)
- Leith M. Burke as Aaron Douglas
- Aunjanue Ellis as Zora Neale Hurston
- Anthony Briatico as Young Italian Kisser
- Reid Mihalko as Harald
- Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt as Young Italian Kisser #2 (billed as BJ Perlmutt)
- Richard Bekins as Carl
- Adam Wade as Sam, the Bartender
- Bradley Cole as MacAllister - Book Publisher
- Raphael Peacock as Newsstand Cashier
- Lizan Mitchell as Protesting Woman
- Laurine Towler as Protesting Woman #2
- Adrian Bethea as Protesting Man #1
- Stanley Mathis as Protesting Man #2 (billed as Stanley Wayne Mathis)
- Tom Wiggin as Mr. Lewis
- J. Kyle Manzay as Attacker #1
- Michael Duvert as Attacker #2
- Tracie Thoms as Mom on Subway
- Curtis McClarin as Black Man on Subway (billed as Curtis L. McClarin)
- Michael Mosley as White Man #1 on Subway
- Daniel Stewart Sherman as White Man #2 on Subway
- Charles Vickers as Bathhouse Patron
- John Hartman as Bathhouse Patron
- Colin Howie as Bathhouse Patron
- Andre Dettler as Bathhouse Patron
- Ashley Fernandez as Bathhouse Patron
- Patrick Torso as Bathhouse Patron
The film received positive reviews from critics, who applauded its handling of themes of queer community and racial turmoil and fetishization. At NPR, Allison Keyes wrote that "the voices of gay activists were often silenced during the civil rights movement and, before that, the Harlem Renaissance" and "Brother to Brother examines this silence."
Michael D. Klemm wrote in Cinema Queer that the film is "a revelation," "beautifully acted and directed" and "almost overflows with ideas."
Awards and nominations
- Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor: Anthony Mackie - nominated; Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Director: Rodney Evans - nominated (2004)
- Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Jury Award best Fiction Feature - winner (2004)
- New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival Vanguard Award - winner (2004)
- Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Jury Award for Best Feature Film - winner (2004)
- Outfest Grand Jury Award, Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film: Roger Robinson - winner; Outstanding American Narrative Feature - winner (2004)
- San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Audience Award Best Feature - winner (2004)
- Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize, Dramatic - winner; Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic - nominated (2004)
- GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Film Limited Release - nominated (2005)
- Glitter Awards Best Feature Indie Gay Film - winner (2005)
- Independent Spirit Awards Best Debut Performance: Anthony Mackie - nominated; Best Supporting Male: Roger Robinson - nominated; Best First Screenplay: Rodney Evans - nominated; Best First Feature - nominated (2005)
Brother to Brother was released on Region 1 DVD on June 14, 2004.
- ^ "Brother to Brother (2004) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
- ^ Davis, Andrew. "Rodney Evans: Talking Brother to Brother". Windy City Times. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
- ^ Keyes, Allison. "'Brother To Brother': Blacks and Homosexuality". NPR.org. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
- ^ Klemm, Michael D. "Sentimental Journey". Cinema Queer. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
- Padva, Gilad (2014). Black Nostalgia: Poetry, Ethnicity, and Homoeroticism in Looking for Langston and Brother to Brother. In Padva, Gilad, Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Pop Culture, pp. 199–226. Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-137-26633-0.