Brother to Brother (Day #11)

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6 thoughts on “Brother to Brother (Day #11)

  1. Reaction:
    I think that a lot of the movies we have seen this year have all touched on hard subjects that many people don’t want to see because mainly they don’t want to think about that when being entertained by watching a movie. This film however touches on a subject that is extremely controversial, especially in communities of color. I think how Evans intertwines the Harlem Renaissance and the struggles of homosexuality are powerful. This movie also shows that the being gay is not just a white man struggle, but a struggle through all races, which I think as a society, we forget about how hard it is to be gay and to also deal with the struggles of racial issues.
    Questions:
    1. How does the film address the controversy of being gay?
    2. How does the film educate viewer about being gay and black?
    3. Why is this subject a hard subject to capture on film, and for people to watch?
    Quotes:
    “Like Looking for Langston, Brother to Brother searches for and locates a black gay male as a component of a present production of black gay desire and identity.” –Kara Keeling
    “So then it became a process of educating people about a culture they knew very little about.” –Rodney Evans
    “I wanted to pay homage to their bravery in saying things in the black community that had never been said before, addressing topics like homosexuality, class issues, interracial skin color prejudice… all that was very groundbreaking during the time.” Rodney Evans

  2. Kyle Sittig

    Langston Hughes is one of the first people in this class that I have had more than a passing familiarity with, as a fan of his poetry. This film has a young, gay, African-American, interacting with an old man who was involved with the Harlem Renaissance. The man knew Langston Hughes and other prominent artists in the movement. The protagonist finds that this man has had some similar struggles with him. From the sound of it, this film mirrors the way in which literature and art builds upon itself. The reason important art is considered important, is the way new people relate to it. You often hear people talk about how certain books are like having a conversation with an author. For me personally, that piece of art was James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I think everyone has one piece of art that feels like it was tailor made to their own anxieties. Brother to Brother builds on that concept, making it a literal connection. Furthermore, this applies to all areas of study. If someone is running into a particular problem, they research the work that has come before them, to see if someone else has encountered that problem.
    I am also a huge fan of Midnight Cowboy so I was excited to read that the filmmaker was inspired by it. I can see a depiction of the Harlem Renaissance sharing a lot of qualities with the bleak and dismal poverty of Midnight Cowboy. Themes of homosexuality and masculinity are also explored in that, so maybe there will be some crossover.

    Quotes
    “My main advice would be to have a story that you’re burning to tell that you’re passionate about. That will get you through all the obstacles and closed doors and rejections and financing nightmares… It has to be the story that ultimately gets you through those dark days.” – Rodney Evans.

    “The Aggressives offers to a project that thinks the temporal structures of blackness and queerness in conjunction with one another and, hence, understands that the politics thought proper to each are inseparable from those of the other” – Kara Keeling

    “Working to seize from “the true picture of the past” (in which we habitually recognize only what interests us) an “image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again,” the temporality that animates the search makes these elements o the Harlem Renaissance available for future use by dragging them out of the shadows, innuendos, behind-the-back winks, and reluctant nods, and into the footnotes and speculations of the official history of black cultural production.” – Kara Keeling
    “I, too, am America” – Langston Hughes

    Questions
    What can we learn from taking a modern look at the Harlem Renaissance? How are the issues Langston Hughes and other Harlem Renaissance figures discussed relevant today?
    How does poverty tend to be portrayed by black films? How is this similar or different to how white and Hollywood films portray it? Midnight Cowboy versus Brother to Brother, for example.
    Why is nostalgia such a powerful force in cinema? Why look into the past for answers? (I’m making an assumption that this film does that). How is the way that art builds on itself analogous to how people act in real life?

  3. This film is about being black and gay and coming out to your family as well as the experiences over time in regards to cultural change. It is interesting to see how he was able to correlate the struggles in of being a gay African american and how it has progressed over time. It is sort of a then and now film in regards to change. The film it self was difficult to produce and get funding for. The fact that they filmed and raised the money by showing what they had filmed already is very intriguing. It must be a very good film if they were able to raise the money by showing what they already had.
    The film deals with gay African American characters that are very complex and are not portrayed in mainstream media and those who are are not in depth characters they are just sort of in the movie.

    Quotes:

    “coming out to my family and the repercussions of that”
    “that lack of understanding of the complexity of black life will continue to be reflected in what we see on screen.”
    “I become motivated by stories I’m burning to tell”
    “Trapped between the worlds of the black community and the gay community”

    Questions:

    What was the Harlem renaissance all about? and why haven’t I heard of it before?
    How much money did they have to raise for the film? Was it accepted by all of the black gay community?
    What was their reaction to the portrayal of the characters?
    why the title brother to brother?
    Why are people always kicked out of their homes when they come out?

  4. Rodney evens who is the film director/ producer of “Brother to Brother” created a film that discusses issue of black gays in America and the struggle that they go through. This director really steps out of the comfort zone of film directors when creating this movie. He highlights an issue that is overlooked by majority of Americans now days. In this film preview one of the characters stated “if you wrote about being gay in that time respect is the last thing that you are going to get”. If I director were to present an issue that is often overlooked he is always criticized by other directors and media that do not want to discuss this issues. This film touched on the comparison of racism and gays, which are both issue in American and they need to be fixed. Even when the director was trying to presents this movie to the audience he was discriminated, they were force to race their own money in order to make the film and get it out to the audience. This film also show the struggles of gays even trying to come out and let their family know what is going on with them and often times they are discriminated by their family to for being gay .
    Quotes
    “Financing was the biggest struggle: we were forced to make the film in a very unorthodox way. We raised as much money as we could and then just started shooting”.
    “Doing a film where 40 percent of the scenes were taking place during the Harlem Renaissance and trying to recreate that whole world on a very low budget was definitely also a huge challenge. It was a wildly ambitious thing to shoot for that amount of money in less than 30 days”.
    “I also wanted to illuminate the rich period known as the Harlem Renaissance and shed light on the back-stories of people like Bruce Nugent, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and Wallace Thurman”.
    Questions
    What made director Rodney evens make this film brother to brother?
    How bad was the director citizen for this?
    Did the actors feel a certain way?

  5. Brother To Brother
    This Film seems like it’s mainly about blacks and being black. The hardest things for gays is coming to your family and trying to be accepted by society. In today’s world is hard for people to open up to other people about their sexuality. But the film demonstrates that in time people get used to it and it doesn’t become that big of a deal. It’s already hard for African Americans in today’s society and now being gay and black is going to make it that much harder in society. Being gay is overlooked by the majority of the American people now days. It’s a touchy topic to certain people in the world. As you see the director had to raise his own money for the film because not a lot of people would give into the film being a black and gay topic. I feel that the hardest things for gays is coming out to your family when you already know that their judgmental.

    Quotes: “Financing was the biggest struggle: we were forced to make the film in a very unorthodox way. We raised as much money as we could and then just started shooting”.
    “I think ultimately I want the film to really move the audience on an emotional level”.
    “Ultimately, the people in positions of power in the film industry didn’t really understand the value of the history being dealt with in my film. So then it became a process of educating people about a culture they knew very little about. Until enough black people are in power to green light films, that lack of understanding of the complexity of black life will continue to be reflected in what we see on screen”.

    Questions: Were the actors comfortable enough to make this film?
    Why were other directors so harsh about the film?
    What problems occur for making this film?

  6. Brother to Brother is the “coming of age” story of a young black man who also identifies as homosexual. When it comes to discussions about sexuality, the black community is often seen as the most homophobic of all the diverse races in the United States. This story is about Perry, a young African-American who is putting himself through college with no support from his family. His family has ostracized him for being gay. This is not an uncommon practice of parents who disapprove of homosexuality. Throughout the film Perry experiences violence, exclusion, acceptance and numerous other feelings that are often associated with living in the marginalized groups of society. Perry is at a huge disadvantage because he is African-American as well as homosexual. In the film he meets an elderly Bruce Nugent, a famous Harlem Renaissance writer, poet and artist. The relationship between Perry and Bruce is an intriguing one. It is about learning who you truly are despite what others might say. Rodney Evans, the director of Brother to Brother, found inspiration for this movie from Bruce Nugent himself. He states that, “I found a video interview of Bruce Nugent in his elderly years at the Schomburg Library in Harlem and I was fascinated by him and struck by the similarities between his experiences and mine. That was the real inspiration between BROTHER TO BROTHER’s central relationship, between Bruce and Perry—a relationship between two black artists from different generations.” This is important to understand because contextually, these characters are completely different in regards to time, yet the queer feelings of Bruce from the Harlem Renaissance can be felt by Perry.
    Quotes:
    “ I wanted to pay homage to their bravery in saying things in the black community that had never been said before, addressing topics like homosexuality, class issues, intraracial skin color prejudice… all that was very groundbreaking during the time. I wanted to bring the experiences of these writers to the screen for people who didn’t really know about them.”
    “Until enough black people are in power to green light films, that lack of understanding of the complexity of black life will continue to be reflected in what we see on screen.”
    Questions:
    Why has the black community developed such a reputation for being the most homophobic race in America?
    What are the differences between being a black gay man in the Harlem Renaissance and being a black gay man today? Is the homophobia better or worse?

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