Tonight at SF Indie: Beside My Brother and Monsters Club!
Posted on February 19, 2012 by Chris Nelson
We’ve got two more Indie Fest Picks for you today, Markus Englmair’s Beside My Brother (Neben meinem Bruder), and Toshiaki Toyoda’s Monsters Club.
The first, Beside My Brother, tells the tale of two brothers, raised from youth to pose as one person by their father, himself traumatized by the tragic loss of their mother. The two boys, both named Thomas, hide away at home, and interact with people (including the father) on a singular basis, switching off through convenient exists so that the other can glean essential information to continue the ruse. This continues on through adulthood, where the two still play our their charade, even while living on their own and trying to make a living in the art world. That is, until a sudden illness threatens to force independence on the brothers once and for all.
Beside My Brother is an uniquely odd little film. I really don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it before. It’s only a little over an hour long, so I don’t want to spoil anything, but the film has a lot on its mind, especially concerning identity and the development thereof. Take for example, the hazards of blind adherence to parental decrees, the unspoken desire for individuality amongst twins, and the ways in which external people perceive those sharing the same face. It’s a slower paced picture, but intriguingly nuanced, with stand out performances from all involved. If you’re up for something odd, but without the gore or genre excesses of other films at the festival, this is one to see.
Second up is Monsters Club (not to be confused with the 1980 Vincent Price/Brit Ekland flick, The Monster Club). I’m recommending this solely based on the director, Toshiaki Toyoda. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve loved everything I’ve seen of his up to now. In fact, he’s my favorite Japanese director working today. Pornostar (aka Tokyo Rampage) was fiercely antagonistic. Blue Spring was a mix of violent beauty. Nine Souls was jubilant and heartbreaking. Hanging Garden, both tragic and hopeful. For a long time Toyoda was out of work, effectively blacklisted for a drug conviction just before the release of Hanging Garden, but he came back with a vengeance with 2009′s The Blood of Rebirth. And now, this year, we get not one, but Toyoda outings with Monsters Club and I’m Flash!.
But I’m guessing you might want to know what the hell Monsters Club is about. From IMDB:
Having abandoned modern civilization, Ryoichi lives an isolated, self-sufficient life on a snow-covered mountain and sends mail bombs to the CEOs of corporations and TV networks. One day, he encounters a mysterious creature in the forest. That night, his older brother, who had committed suicide, appears before him at his cabin. The apparition takes Ryoichi beyond a door, where Ryoichi learns the truth about his family.
I don’t usually do recommendations sight-unseen, but Monsters Club is an exceptionally safe bet.
So, you’ve got two great films to choose from tonight. Beside My Brother plays tonight at 5:00pm, and Monsters Club plays at 9:30pm. Both films play at the SF Roxie. To find out more info, and to purchase tickets, head on over to their pages a the SF Indie Website (Click here for Beside My Brother or here for Monsters Club). Be sure Check them out!