October 27, 2022

VIFF 2022 | Scarborough's Keeper – 'Brother'-ly Love

"We are not safe."
Lamar Johnson Aaron Pierre Clement Virgo | David Chariandy's Brother | VIFF 2022
Vancouver International Film Festival
VIFF 2022—Jamaican-born and Toronto-raised filmmaker Clement Virgo adapts Canadian author David Chariandy's award-winning novel, Brother, into a tender generational family drama about young Black masculinity (not unlike the similarly-themed Moonlight) and growing up in a 1991 Scarborough housing complex.

Lamar Johnson and Aaron Pierre star as close brothers (both looking very muscular and mature to play teenagers), Michael and Francis, with very different temperaments raised by a strong-willed Jamaican immigrant single mother (Marsha Stephanie Blake) as they grapple with their place in the world amidst neighbourhood violence and constant police abuse. Their bond anchors the slow burn film full of small moments of internal reflection and angst.

Standout Kiana Madeira is a revelation as a neighbour and love interest to Johnson's Michael. She's both sultry and confident with a brimming screen presence that captivates every scene she's in. Madeira quietly walks in and captures our attention silently while we're engrossed in the sad family saga of brothers and almost fated tragedy.

Virgo's adaptation constructs a moving portrait of Jamaican-Canadian identity in young men and all of its struggles. Juggling different timelines and characters' ages gets difficult, but the film wisely focuses on the performances and mood clearly set by its specific time and place. Scarborough in the '90s feels so vividly realized just as the community of people dramatized are so recognizable despite any unfamiliarity with the setting or culture seen.

Brother screened at the 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Showcase series at the Vancouver Playhouse and Rio Theatre.

More | YVArcade / Exclaim / THR

0 reactions:

Post a Comment