Bucks and Goats | Chicago Reader

Bucks and Goats

A fascinating piece of sociology, Hans Heijnen's 1999 documentary focuses on the 140-year-old rivalry between two brass bands that divides his hometown of Thorn in the Netherlands. In the 1850s an obscure dispute split the church band into two factions, one nicknamed the Bucks (or “Billies” in the film?s subtitles) and the other the Goats. Over the years the rivalry has driven each band to excellence but divided the townspeople; a few profess to be neutral, but most align themselves with one camp or the other, their allegiance apparently influencing what bakery they'll patronize or whom they'll marry (it's said to be “in the genes”). Heijnen gently points out the arbitrary nature of the conflict by bracketing his interviews with long shots of the town, which from afar looks beautifully unified around its old cathedral.

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