My Brother's Wedding (Director's Cut) | Chicago Reader

My Brother's Wedding (Director's Cut)

87 minutes 2013

Reduced by roughly a quarter of its original running time by the writer-director, Charles Burnett's long-unavailable second feature (1983) still carries a charge with its pointed theme, flavorsome neighborhood vignettes, and mainly nonprofessional cast. (Though there's slippage at times between some of these people and the parts they're playing, their indelible reality and warmth as presences recall Cassavetes's Shadows.) The hero (Everett Silas), who works at his parents' dry-cleaners in Watts, is torn by his divided loyalties between his family's middle-class aspirations (epitomized by his brother's upcoming marriage to an upscale lawyer) and his disreputable best friend, who's just out of prison. Burnett invests this conflict with primal meanings that grow in resonance, but his narrative method, which sprawled a bit in the original, now seems telescoped and overly schematic.

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