Brat - Brother

Brother (Брат) is a highly regarded Russian drama/action film from 1997 that has achieved cult status.

The main character is Danila Bagrov, who has just returned to his hometown in Russia from Chechnya, where he was fighting in the war. He gets in a fight at a concert almost immediately and attracts the attention of the police, so he escapes to St. Petersburg, where his older brother, Viktor, lives. While looking for his brother, he gets involved with a street crowd and angers a racketeer. When he finally does find Viktor, he discovers that he’s an established hitman. Viktor’s next target is a Chechen, and he enlists Danila to carry out the murder for him. The action only gets more complicated from there, with Danila drawn further into Petersburg’s criminal underworld.

The film won awards from a number of film festivals, and it was nominated for a Nika for best film and won the Kinotavr (a film festival) award for Best Male Actor, for Sergey Bodrov Jr., who played Danila. Though it didn’t win any of the more major prizes, it is now regarded as one of the more impressive films to come out of Russia in recent years. It has achieved cult status, with very high audience scores and a spot on KinoPoisk’s top 250 films. (Very few of those are Russian films, which highlights the achievement.) It has very good (but not universally so) ratings from critics, but it is a definite fan favorite.

A sequel, Brother 2 (Брат 2), was released in 2000. Tragically, the lead actor, Sergey Bodrov Jr., died in 2002 in a landslide on a mountain in North Ossetia, where he was filming a new movie.

 

Director: Aleksey Balabanov
Stars: Sergey Bodrov, Viktor Sukhorukov, Svetlana Pismichenko, Maria Zhukova, Yuriy Kuznetsov
Production company: Studia Gorkovo, Kinokompaniya STV, Roskomkino
Box office take: unknown

Official trailer:

Brat - Brother

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.