1997, dir. Alexey Balabanov
Bruising realism brings to life the story of a restless and naïve young man in lawless post-Soviet Russia.
This 90s cult classic is centred on the iconic figure of Danila Bagrov (Sergey Bodrov Jr.) as he leaves the army, arriving in St. Petersburg to meet his brother. Blazing Russian rock music serves as a fitting soundtrack to his descent into crime and immersion in the city’s nightlife.
An atmosphere of hostility and emptiness arose in early post-Soviet Russia, as the fallen regime was replaced by monumental chaos, crime and poverty. Gangsters and musicians ruled, and brute force became the most valuable commodity.
Brother profoundly captures this mood – it became a huge hit in Russia and resonates with each new generation. The film, and its protagonist, have become an inspiration for young people, although many feel this is for the wrong reasons, with the film being accused of inadvertently promoting neo-nationalism.
Director Alexey Balabanov saw himself as the ‘anti-establishment rock’n’roller of Russian film’, telling stories about the dark underbelly and decay of early post-Soviet society.