Jameson Cinefest 2016. Review of “Brothers” by Javier Roldán

„To die will be an awfully big adventure,” Peter Pan said.

And he was right – at least when his thought is applied to Javier Roldán’s second short film „Brothers”, a harrowing and poignant coming of age story.

In ’50s Spain, Alonso and Jorge are two young brothers who live with their parents in the middle of the Spanish countryside. The death of their beloved dog Bosco will make them think, for the first time, about the meaning of death and how they feel about it. Wanting to show they do not fear it, they are involved in a risky mischief of whose danger they are not conscious.

With „Brothers” Roldán tackles death in a humane and human manner, with a gentle and splendid depiction of the boys’ first encounter with death and the loss of their dog and their child innocence. Roldán uses their mischievous nature and youth to present death as an adventure – much like in Peter Pan’s line of thought. But, this story is very much the contrary of Peter Pan’s syndrome as he uses this precise adventure and little shoulder rubbing with death as a means to make them grow up. In that sense, the two protagonists go through an immense change in a very short period of time but as traumatic as it may have been, it has most certainly strengthened their brotherly bond, thus giving Roldán the opportunity to also tackle and highlight the importance of family – especially as he co-wrote the film with his brother, Eduardo Roldán, to whom he has dedicated this work of art.

Roldán demonstrates evident filmmaking skills as he has managed to craft an affecting and visually beautiful short film in which the directing is precise and commanding, the acting raw and natural (courtesy of Estefanía de Santos, nominated for a Goya Award for Best Actress in 2013, Luis Callejo who has already worked with Roldán on the Spanish TV series „El Barco”, and the two real life brothers, Hugo and Pablo Arbués) and  Emilio Vigara Leyva’s crisp lensing with a yellowish palette and breath-taking wide shots of the Spanish countryside and the Valley of Corcos.

„Brothers” is a touching cinematic experience that will make you love your sibling(s) even more…




O.T.: “Hermanos”

Production: Estela Films (Spain 2016)

Executive producer: Félix Tusell Sánchez

Director: Javier Roldán

Screenplay: Javier Roldán

Cinematography: Emilio Vigara Leyva

Music: Tomás Virgós

Costume design: Patricia Heras

Editing: Máximo de la Verga Chana


Cast: Estefanía de los Santos, Luis Callejos, Pablo Arbués, Hugo Arbués

Color – 19 min.

Premiere: 28/10/2015 (Valladolid Film Festival – Seminci)

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