MUST SEE: “My Brother the Devil” (UK)
By Tara Shaw
Sally El Hosaini’s first film, “My Brother the Devil” opens in theaters today. A resident of Hackney, where the film was made, Hosaini took great effort to portray a true to life portrait of the youth. The film was researched for six years but shot in the short span of 28 days. James Floyd stars as the character Rashid in this skillfully gripping movie. The talented Floyd spent several months with residents of the Hackney, East London estates (housing projects). It is apparent that the time was well spent because Floyd gives a raw and true to life performance as the older, drug dealing brother of Mo, played by newcomer Fady Elsayed. The film draws you in from the beginning with its beautiful imagery, adept framing and skillful use of music.
The plot revolves around the relationship of the two Egyptian brothers who live at home with their parents. Mo idolizes his older brother Rashid who runs with a gang of “black boys,” as the father refers to them. Mo, the aspiring rapper, looks on as Rashid sells drugs and tote guns. After a tragic incident, Rashid begins to reflect on his lifestyle and his sexuality which lures Mo into the regime that he is trying to change. Mo is envious of Rashid’s friendship with the older Sayyid (Said Taghmaoui), an established photographer who buys pot from Rashid. The film plays out artfully as we watch the main characters explore issues of race, identity, masculinity and sexuality. Among many awards, the film has Won Best Cinematography at Sundance Film Festival and Best Newcomer at BFI London Film Festival. Go see “My Brother the Devil” in NY today at the Landmark Sunshine Theater or the Film Society at Lincoln Center.
Starring: James Floyd, Fady Elsayed, Said Taghmaoui, Aymen Hamdouchi, Letitia Wright, Anthony Welsh, Ashley Thomas, Leemore Marrett Jr.