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directed by Charles Burnett
USA 1983

 

The least known of Charles Burnett's first three features (1983) - the other two are Killer of Sheep and To Sleep With Anger  -" focuses on the family pressure exerted on a young man in Watts (Everett Silas), who works at his parents' dry cleaners, to abandon his disreputable ghetto friends and adjust to a more middle-class existence. This struggle is pushed to the limit when he has to choose between attending his older brother's wedding to a woman from an affluent family and attending the funeral of his best friend, a former juvenile delinquent. Burnett's acute handling of actors (most of whom are non-professionals) never falters, and his gifts as a storyteller make this a movie that steadily grows in impact and resonance as one watches.

Excerpt of review from Jonathan Rosenbaum located HERE

Theatrical Release: March 1985 (USA)

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DVD Review: BFI - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution

BFI

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:17:24
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.30 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (LPCM 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Exclusive new 13 minute interview with Charles Burnett
• Burnett's short films When it Rains (1995, 13 minutes), Burnetts short film celebrating the value of
• Fully illustrated booklet

DVD Release Date: October 20th, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 9

 

Comments

Released by the BFI at the same time as his better known "Killer of Sheep", Charles Burnett's second film, "My Brother's Wedding" touches on may of the same themes as his debut. Like "Killer of Sheep", "My Brother's Wedding" tells the story of a blue collar African American family living in Los Angeles. Again, like his first film, Burnett used a cast of non-professionals and perhaps it shows here more than it does in "Killer of Sheep" with a few rather stilted and unnatural deliveries. However, this is a minor complaint, for Burnett once again crafts another drama that echoes the events of a family trying to just get by. This time, the film focuses on Pierce, who works at his family's dry cleaning business, but doesn't seem to dream of anything bigger. His brother, Wendell, is scheduled to marry into an upper middle class family, despite Pierce's misgivings. Pierce's life is further complicated by the arrival of his friend, Soldier, who has recently been released from jail. What follows requires Pierce to come to terms with his own demons and decide who he owes his loyalty to. Included on this disc are two versions of the film, the original 1983 release and the director's preferred cut which is nearly half the length of the former version. Both cuts have their faults, but on the whole I agree with Burnett that the shorter version is the better of the two as it trims most of the fat out of the story

The image on the disc looks decent enough and is identical on both cuts. Shot on 35 mm in full screen format, the image isn't the clearest that I've seen, but its still has a serviceable level of clarity that preserve's the director's vision. The grain level is satisfying and looks very much like many of the independence films of the era. What's more, the print used here is quite clean and has no visible instances of damage, dirt, or distortions. Overall, the image is quite satisfying.

The story is more or less the same of the LPCM 2.0 audio track. The sound is crystal clear and features no signs of artificial manipulations or unwanted background noise like hisses, pops and clicks. The subtitles are clear and don't obstruct the image.

The set comes with some decent extras. Aside from the alternate cut of the film, the disc also sports two short films by Burnett. First there's "When it Rains" which tells the story of a man trying to help out a family that's facing eviction, and "Quiet as Kept" which follows a family that was displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Also included is an interview with Burnett exclusive to this edition and a 9 page booklet with an essay on the film and a biography of Burnett.

Although the film (and both shorts) is also available in region 1 as part of "The Charles Burnett Collection" (Reviewed HERE). For those who want to indulge, either release would be a good choice. If you merely want "My Brother's Wedding", then the BFI is clearly the way to go. Recommended.

 - Brian Montgomery

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

BFI

Region 2 - PAL


 




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