Brotherhood: Torn between war, family, and belief

Having a loving, caring and compassionate family is the best thing you can hope for. Whether it’s your parents who are always there for you or your siblings with whom you have a great time, being loved is such a great feeling. Sadly, due to unforeseen and unfortunate events, this isn’t as easy as it should be for everyone. This is what happens to Mohamed and his family in “Brotherhood”, the latest short film from director/writer Meryam Joobeur (“Born in the Maelstrom”, “Deux mondes”). The film tells the beautiful and touching story about being torn between war, family, and belief.

At first, it seems that Mohamed (Mohamed Grayaâ) and his wife (Salha Nasraoui) are living an ordinary and humble life with their sons. They just have the basics but that doesn’t stop them from loving each other. However, that loving relationship is being disturbed when their third son Malek (Chaker Mechergui) is returning from the war in Syria. Alongside his new girlfriend Reem (Jasmin Lazid), he has finally come home again as a soon “father-to-be”. The mom is over the moon with his return but Mohamed isn’t. He doesn’t understand why his son had to go to Syria, isn’t very fond of Reem and is just totally shaken up. The arrival of Malek is resulting in tension between Mohamed and his family. Can Mohamed open his heart again towards his son or did the war drive a wedge between his and his family?

Yes, this movie involves the war in Syria but it’s far from a war movie. It’s a film about love, family, brotherhood and making difficult choices. Emotional and touching topics everyone can relate to in one way or another, especially because they’re brought in an incredibly beautiful way.

First of all, it’s the way this movie was filmed. It’s shot in a very natural-looking way. There’re no special effects (or at least it looks like that) or no abrupt scene transitions (apart from the nearer towards the end when the tension is running high). Those elements create that “everyday life” vibe for the full 100% and allow the emotional connection between characters and the audience to grow.

Another reason why the level of connection is being heightened is because of the wonderful acting performances. Every actor and actress puts on a very natural, human and touching display. Mohamed (“Eli Lik Lik”, “Day of the Falcon”) as the loving but also stubborn father and Salha (“Dementia”, “Mor w’Sbar”) as the carrying, headstrong and forgiving mother. The three brothers, portrayed by Malek Mechergui, Chaker Mechergui and Rayenne Mechergui, all look incredibly similar. Despite being sent to war, Malek hasn’t been corrupted by the darkness and political games he must have seen it. No, he’s still the loving and carrying brother. His trades are being put on screen wonderfully by Mechergui. The happiest and cheerful performance comes from Rayenne, who’s playing the youngest brother. There’s still some playfull and innocent vibe around his character and that comes out beautifully. There’s also Lazid as Reem, a woman who loves her husband more than what she believes in. There are some religious difficulties for Reem when she’s introduced to her inlaws and those insecurities emotionally come to life thanks to Lazid her wonderful performance.

“Brotherhood” has already been selected for film festivals all over the world such as Toronto International Film Festival 2018, Sundance Film Festival 2019 and San Francisco Film Festival 2019 and it seems that the new year might bring Joobeur even more joy and happiness. It would be immensely well-deserved as her “Brotherhood” is an incredibly touching, honest, raw and beautifully created short film. We predict it will take home the Oscar in 2020 for Best Live Action Short Film.

Liselotte Vanophem

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