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December 30, 2006

Brothers of the Head


Keith Fulton & Louis Pepe - 2006
Pacific Marketing & Entertainment Region 3 DVD

It may be one of several jokes of Brothers of the Head that the film is from the team of Fulton and Pepe, best known previously for documenting other filmmakers, most famously Terry Gilliam. Their newest film is a fake documentary that owes some of its spirit to Gilliam as well as Rob Reiner's This is Spinal Tap and Tod Browning's Freaks. There is also a fake, uncompleted film credited to the very real Ken Russell, who appears as himself, as well as an appearance by Brothers author Brian Aldiss portrayed by actor James Greene. The songs are by Clive Langer, who also composed the songs for the sorely under-appreciated valentine to rock music, Still Crazy. Former Buzzcock Pete Shelley also contributed to the original music. Giving the various elements of rock documentary, comedy and horror a sense of visual unity is cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, the real hero of Dogme. The film spins from dramatic to comic to what was once called experimental film, and back again, yet remains of one piece.

The story concerns the very brief rise and fall of a rock band created around two conjoined twin brothers. The head is the Anglicized name of the remote part of England the twins are from. The band is the creation of rock entreprenuer Zak Bedderwick with brother Tom studiously learning how to play guitar, while brother Barry becomes the reluctant, and ultimately defiant, voice of the band. The narrative can be interpreted as a variation of the Frankenstein story in that what begins as someone else's creation takes on an unexpected life and consciousness of its own.

Watching a rock band self-destruct on screen is nothing new. Watching Luke and Harry Treadaway, two real-life twins, is fascinating in how easily they function while joined at the chest. With arms sometimes wrapped around each other, the two run, perform somersaults, and sing and dance while Harry plays guitar. The two function so smoothly together that every act of coordination seems strangely natural. It's those magic moments of the brothers by themselves that provide a bit cinematic wonder to Brothers of the Head, while the story of the rise and fall of a rock band is pretty much the same old song.

Posted by peter at December 30, 2006 01:39 AM