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July 1, 2012

Broderskab

by Franz Patrick


Broderskab (2009)
★★★ / ★★★★

Lars (Thure Lindhardt) was an up-and-coming leader in the army, but he was asked to leave because someone accused him of making a pass at a few fellow soldiers when they were out getting drunk. Lars moved back home and met Fatty (Nicolas Bro), a neo-Nazi recruiter, while spending time with his friends. Impressed with Lars’ intelligence and eloquence, Fatty invited him into the circle and was assigned to be trained by Jimmy (David Dencik). Although they didn’t get along initially, it wasn’t long until Jimmy and Lars revealed their attraction for one another. Written by Nicolo Donato and Rasmus Birch, “Broderskab,” also known as “Brotherhood,” was a rare walk in the shoes of neo-Nazis who also happened to be a homosexuals. The movie was at times difficult to sit through because of all the talk about beating Arabs and Muslims like they weren’t even human beings. They threw words around like “honor” and “bravery” but there was absolutely nothing honorable nor brave in their actions especially when their plans involved inflicting as much damage as possible and then hiding in the dark to keep their precious anonymity. There were also a handful of scenes that featured gay bashing as if homosexuality could be beaten out of a person. There was a terrible but brilliant line uttered which highlighted the importance of physically beating young gay men so they would be too scared to come out of the closet. As I sat watching the images and listening to the words the film had to impart, I couldn’t help but feel angry, sad, and deeply disturbed. And yet I thought such images and words were necessary because they were things that neo-Nazis do and say. The picture came into focus when Lars and Jimmy shared the same space. When they made love, it was sexy because the very idea of (let alone physically) being with someone of the same sex was forbidden in their world. Their relationship was complicated because both were immersed in self-hatred. They wouldn’t have joined if they knew and valued themselves, especially Jimmy. Lars joined due to a misdirected anger–anger toward the military’s decision despite its lack of evidence, anger toward his mother for prying/trying to get his life back on track, and possibly anger toward himself for not hiding himself a bit better during that key drunken night. We all knew that Fatty and company would eventually find out that something was going on between Lars and Jimmy. Patrick (Morten Holst), Jimmy’s brother who had an addiction to drugs, was jealous of Lars for being promoted before him. Naturally, he would be the first person to find out about his older brother and would have had to talk to the worst person about what he saw. However, the screenplay’s predictability didn’t matter because its core, its emotions, was strong. The strength was in the intense glances, the unspoken words, and the paradox of being gay and a neo-Nazi. Directed by Nicolo Donato, “Broderskab” did something brave and honorable: it created a case that neo-Nazis are human, too.

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