In Captain Chambers’ short film, Brother, a man (Clint McCune) wanders around with a guitar, smoking and generally looking less-than-impressed with what’s around him. Abrasive and quick to anger, the man frequents a coffee house, where he somewhat captures the curiosity of the employee (Nathan Christopher Haase) behind the counter (who may be genuinely concerned about the man, or just worried that something bad is going to happen).
I don’t want to say too much and spoil the remainder of this short film, but the bulk of it is made up of watching a short-tempered man angrily react to those around. While we may eventually find a reason to empathize with the man, it becomes a question of whether that ultimately excuses the man’s behavior or attitude. The answer to that question will rely on individual interpretation, and the film seems to be interested in casting the judgement back at us to some degree, but I don’t know if it succeeds in that sense.
Visually, the focus is often soft, the footage not exposed properly and mostly the film feels too muddy for its own good. Such are the potential pitfalls of shooting Super 8mm. I think, if we were looking at Brother as a short film that was released back when many short films were shot on 8mm or Super 8mm film, we’d still be less than complimentary about the film’s look in comparison. Taken nowadays, however, when shooting on film is itself a revolutionary act, the less-than-accomplished footage becomes an aesthetic charm… to a certain extent.
At the end of the day, I don’t think the fact that the film stands out amongst modern day fare, due to the now-novelty of it actually being shot on film, raises it above the shortcomings of its cinematography or craft. I applaud the choice, but I don’t always appreciate the execution. I think there’s a charm to this film, and maybe even a message too, but it’s certainly not to be found on the obvious surface, where many an audience member may fall by the wayside.
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