Me and My Brother | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Film » Movie Critic's Choice

Me and My Brother

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

Me and My Brother

Written by Sam Shepard and director-cinematographer Robert Frank, this 1968 antidocumentary emphasizes the relationship between Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Peter's brother Julius, whose diagnosis of schizophrenia is revealed when Peter contemptuously reads a document written by a doctor who once examined Julius. In the parts of this movie that most resemble documentary footage, Peter and Allen appear at ease being filmed, and Julius seems unaffected. Scrutinized by the camera or questioned by the filmmaker, he has a nearly enviable absence of self-consciousness, something Joseph Chaikin--who plays an actor auditioning for the role of Julius in a movie-within-the-movie--doesn't even try to approximate. Some viewers may feel that the real Julius was exploited, others that the experience must have been liberating--but this isn't a simplistic essay about mental illness. By treating what's in front of the camera as a mixture of contrivance and reality--without belaboring or ignoring the fact that this is the nature of filmmaking--this movie addresses a range of ideas about mediating experience, and it does so with a light touch that somehow never trivializes the social issues broached along the way. (This version was reedited in 1997.) On the same program, Frank's 1996 short The Present. Kino-Eye Cinema at Cinema Borealis, 1550 N. Milwaukee, Friday, March 12, 8:00, 773-384-5533.

--Lisa Alspector

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment