BROTHER TO BROTHER



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07/02/2008

great movie i loved it so much that i brought a copy and will be having a viewing party once it arrives

02/28/2008
Barry Mendelsohn
Ashburn, VA

I was impressed that so many topics could be addressed in such a cogent way in one small film: Being black and gay; sacrifices made to be true to one's art; color bigotry among blacks and the segregated black upper class adopting some of the worst characteristics of the white upper class; Bruce Nugent; the rise and fall of the Harlem Renaissance; the importance of loving and being loved. Kudos to the writer and makers of this film. It deserves wide circulation and awards.

8/14/07
Ashley
cedarhill, tx

I'm 17 years old and i have not always lived in Cedar Hill , I'm black or should I say colored. God bless those that realize that the world is not what it should be ,I just came to see my self has a confused africa amrican ,that has not learned my real line of antsisters.last weekend I'd say is when my Dad broke throw my adalested wall. You guys should keep doing all that you do. All so if it is possiliable show it a little early so that more of us young people can be reached . Pulled out of the dark fantasy made by a one man world and maintianed life so that we can change the way the world sees each other.

6/26/07
Bronx, NY

Brother to Brother, A film of such character! I simply thought the film was extrodinary! This film has shed lite on some dark areas of my life. I was beginning to forget the struggle of our people but seeing this film reminded me of just how important struggle is. I mean, I was able to see myself in the characters of the actors. I was able to identify with the pain and rejection of wanting to be apart or better yet be heard. what a statement this film is. It should be heard everywhere.

4/10/07
Brooklyn

I was glad to see a film that was not focused on the sex lives of gay characters. This production "humanized" the characters and highlighted the emotional struggles of gay characters. I also like that the Harlem Renaissance was a part of the focal point of the program. I was thoroughly entertained by it.

3/22/07
Robert Nimmer
Vernon Hills, IL

Sometimes a film isn't what you think. I was ready to watch "just another gay movie". I was elated to find that Brother to Brother was, in fact, a provocative masterpiece! Not only did it stir many emotions inside of me, but it shed a light on The Harlem Renaissance, a historic era that most people my age (Generation X/Y) have no idea even existed. Rather that focusing on the "struggle", Brother to Brother focused on the whys behind the struggle and the fellowship it brought to these remarkable individuals. Although this film told a story of a time several decades ago, it has a very contemporary appeal. I recommend this film as a must-see for anyone that has about and hour and a half to be enlightened and entertained.

2/6/07
Geneva, Switzerland

Have just watched the movie and realized it has been a long time I haven't cried for a movie. Thank you ! Would like to say problems met during Harlem Renaissance are still current and we have to fight against these treats every day. I feel concerned even if I am white and living quite far from US. Finally, would like to wish lot of courage to black gays and will keep fighting next to you against discriminations.

10/30/06
Kevin Don Porter
Capitol Heights, Maryland

As an aspiring writer I enjoyed this insider's view into the minds of well-known, and not so well-known, writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

The subplot involving celebrated writers Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Richard Bruce Nugent offered revealing flashbacks into the past and weaved seamlessly into the engrossing present day storyline. Anthony Mackie, the lead character, is a serious force on the big screen.
7/10/06
cynthia roche cotter

just stumbled upon "brother to brother" while unwinding at the end of a 12 hr day of being a visiting nurse in the simmering inner city of Boston. Thank you for a beautiful, sad and yet totally inspiring view of the past and present life of African Americans. Kudos to Mr. Evans for his creativity and ability to convey this story. It is so wonderful to have real programs like Indep. Lens - that is why I am a member - certainly not for the silly reality programs PBS is pandering towards this days. 7/10/06
Annemarie E. Woolley

Its been a very long time since I was touched deeply by something on TV. THANK YOU. 4/25/06
Lawrence M Kamhi MD
Brooklyn, New York

Thank you, PBS, the writer director, cast and staff who made this courageous, brilliant and deeply moving film, Brother to Brother. In addition to educating me as to the history and selected characters of the Harlem Rennaisance, the film is a bold statement of the trials and tribulations experienced by a defiant contemporary Gay artist and his triumphant achievement of love, respect and self-conformation through a fortuitous eclipse with an elderly artist from the Harlem Renaissance who proves to be his spiritual forebear. Insighfully written, technically pleasing and persuasively performed, Brother to Brother makes for a magnificent and provocative film experience, deserving of its accolades and one that I will recommend for a long time to come. 4/17/06
Waldorf, MD

I was taken by the passion and history of this film. I think going in blind and open minded made it all the more engrossing. The merging of the generations by common pain and common love was amazing. 4/6/06
JC
New York, NY

I just saw this film and I loved it. It struck a perfect balance between the modern personal story of young gay black man and the history of the Harlem Renaissance. It also portrayed the nuances of a this type of relationship much better and with more detail than "Brokeback Mountain" 10/6/05
Irene Dashevsky
Philadelphia, PA

I thought the film was amazing. It made Harlem Renaissance come alive. I really loved the interplay between Bruce's past and Perry's present. I also thought that it was unusual but nice to see artists/writers who did not get much recognition or fame while alive -- for their stories to be told and their creativity and brilliance remembered. The topic that really drew me was homophobia within the black community, and this was nicely explored as well. I also really enjoyed the music and artwork in the film - it was truly a masterpiece. Six years of work was worth it indeed!!! Incredible... 8/2/05
Kathryn Hill
Rochester, NY

I was very impressed with the filmmaking skills demonstrated in this program. Great camera work, excellent transitions from one scene to another -excellent techniques that were more professional than I usually see on any television program. Made it a joy to watch. 7/28/05
Mirta Toledo

The authors and artists of the Harlem Renaissance found controversy because their work was ahead of their time. Controversy is neither necessary or beneficial, is just a reaction from people that is shocked when a true artist show them something that, in any other way, they are not going to see. That�s the power of art.

I think Rodney Evans was really brave making Brother to Brother, because he is showing us a reality under the lens of beauty, respect and intelligence. I think that a movie can be a piece of art
(even though almost everything is forgetable) this movie kept me thinking because of the message, of the acting, the images, the soul of the characters!

I agree with Mr. Evans, those in power
finance what they think is going to bring back millons, thats why when we talk about film we talk about "industry" and NO art. IF, as a society, we value art, and, think that FILMS are another art expression, we should found films with diverse and profound subject matters. Then, America will produce
film directors such as Fellini, Bergman, Almodovar, etc.

Mr. Evans, thanks for your movie, and I hope you continue with your artwork no matter what! 7/13/05
Don Crisostomo
San Francisco, CA

Brother to Brother is a sincere and necessary film exploring the Harlem Renaissance, a subject quite lost in the pages of history. I agree with previous comments that this is a vital piece rendering the portrayal of gay African Americans in the present age and comparing the struggles and identity that was so valiantly fought for in the past and still is being fought in the present age of homphophia, hate crimes, racism and the need for a voice to be heard.

I am most impressed with the fact that the director, Rodney Evans, has given the literary and artistic founders of the Harlem Renaissance that voice. The idea that interweaves and compares the past and present struggles for identity, pride and taking a stand, is revolutionary. I credit the director for bringing these ideas and emotions to the surface, giving life and credit to the founders of the Harlem movement. I definitely applaud his direct portrayal of the African American gay scene of Harlem past and present.

The only comment that I would like to make is that, even though this was an independent film, the ending is predictable. Perhaps this was necessary to give the film an artistic flavor. However, I am certain that Richard Bruce Nugent died under very different circumstances. Nevertheless, this does not dectract from the film's strength, power, and message.
7/13/05
C E Russell
Vallejo, CA

I was channel surfing and came across the last segment of Brother to Brother. What an wonderful presentation and I want to share the video with others. It is so well done. The message is so real.

Thank you for the visual joys and pain of our existance. It's sad that we all done hear the music and understand the voices or execpt the human message. The Spirit Never Dies~
Carey~
7/8/05
Luis
St. Louis, MO

This was a great production. I watched it on the grandaddy of PBS stations, KECT 9 St. Louis. It made me think, made me smile, made me angry and even bristle, but that's what I want from PBS.

Taking direct aim at TJ Shipley of Pueblo, CO. GOD made homosexuals and they are wrong, then GOD is wrong. 6/27/05
Pauline M K

Simply stated: outstanding and thought provoking while introducing great afro-american artists of our time. Thank you Rodney Evans. 6/27/05
Connie Guy
Myersville, MD

I really enjoyed this film. �In particular, I thought it was well done from the present day expression and the segway of skillfully moving back in time from both the young man's experience of rejection from his home as well as when Mr. Nugent shared his experiences, as a writer during the Harlem Renaissance. �I never got lost during the time travels...well done. �And too, the footage of that era in Harlem gave me insight into �the issues they wanted to overcome and were willing to deliver their views in plain sight, how brave for them to have done so. �



�I definitely think the expression of our lives through the arts bridges understanding of the unfamiliar. People can experience the difficulties of ones who choose ways of living that are different and they may come to terms within themselves and diffuse their own personal prejudices. Artistic expression in cinema and in literature provides the opportunity to look in on another's lifestyle, particularly when it is done with sensitivity as, "Brother to Brother" was done and the viewer may be enlightened. �The audience becomes at ease with the prespective as the story unfolds a sensitive subject. This in turn evokes compassion, where there may have been hatred. We are provided insight and become familiar without being directly involved, thus more accepting of another's differences. �I can imagine that homosexuality that included crossing racial lines had to be extremely painful in the past, as it was for Mr. Nugent.



�I don't think Mr. Evans had to summon bravery to do this film because I think we have matured since that time, though I realize that there is still need for acceptance of differences. �Religious prejudices are the penacle of bias and sadly so. �I am concerned that we have not come further in our nation and the world. �Humanity reaks with prejudice all over the world with people dying by the thousands. I don't understand this incomprehensible state of affairs and often and sorrowful of what is happening. �I am so thankful that i live in this country and can freely sit here in the comfort of my home and write what I think about a film such as what I just viewed and not be condemned to death. �But, I hear that there are some things happening that are not about freedom of speech, like the recent visit of the President to West Virginia and how the people who wanted to be seen were herded into an area away from the media. People need to respect our leaders and we have to pay attention from the grass roots as to who we put into office. �At the top, there is only a vote and not much of a voice. In our hometowns, we can be heard, if we participate.



�I agree with Mr. Evans about who has the power to be seen and heard in the industry. �I am in the music industry...check out connieguy.com, and I understand. �Once upon a time I could go into the local video store, Blockbuster, and there was a section of films I always wanted to check out and went to first, low budget, etc., then the company decided to scatter them around the store and now they are more difficult to find. �Drat!



�We have to remember that there is a balance and the bad guys are not in charge. �WE are all one and what we think manifests, what are we thinking? �WE are waking up from a deep sleep and we are here because of Love and that is the bottom line. So what are we going to do collectively? �Learn from one another and then teach what we learn.

� �Thank you, I am so tired and some of this may need some cleaning up but you gotta know that I was inspired by the film to come to you here. Congratulations, Mr. Evans! Connie 6/21/05
Mayo J.
Columbus, OH

I had the pleasure of experiencing this movie on our local PBS-station WOSU 34. I was moved by the parallels between the RBN character to Perry's. I can see the how the Harlem Renaissance period influences the current "Neo-Soul" for lack of a better word. This was a moving, touching story of creativity, family, acceptance (others & self). Evans was brave for making this film and hopefully will continue to hold up a mirror to us all to check the reflection and see if we're still breathing! 6/21/05
randi levin
clancy, mt

thank you. like others, i happened upon the film just after is began and was immediately transfixed by the characters, the history and the story. i couldn't stop watching despite the lateness of the hour. as a young jewish woman, i grew up, came out into and was befriended by gay and straight communities of color in chicago. i watched as artists continue to struggle against the mainstream, against the urging to smooth out their voices, to become more palatable, more viewer and funder friendly. now i watch again, from the foothills of the rocky mountains, where the color of the people is different yet the struggle still the same.
thank you to pbs, montana public television and to all those who support the broadcast of fine films like these. for many, pbs is truly a "window to the world" that we can not see, even from our high altitude vantage point. for all those who read this posting, please urge congress to maintain funding for cpb, as it supports our rural public television stations.
6/20/05
Davi Davis
Cincinnati, Ohio

The controversal elements depicted in art and writing is what brings life to real situations. If Evans had not tapped into the controversy assoiated with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance, then there would be no story to tell. As a young African American female filmmaker, I have found that the best stories to tell are the ones most influenced by life. Those stories are true and controversal. Art is always going to be controversal because it is one individuals perception of the world and the people in it. That one person is only going to give insite to what they see and yes many others will agree or disagree, but that's why we need it...it makes the world colorful. 6/20/05

Brother to Brother shed some light on the truths of being black and a gay male. The energy from the Harlem Rennais became so infectious when brought back to life through the characters. Perry was excellent, his quite resolve was the cover on a boiling tumultous inside, exactly how so many feel. The film was really fantastic, touching on several issues that are all interrelated. Sexuality, Race, Artistic expression, and everything inbetween. All of these themes are connected, thats why they can easily reflect each other. Hopefully PBS will air Brother to Brother again. 6/20/05
Drew
Washington, DC

Brother to Brother is a film I probably would not have seen had it not been on PBS, so props to the filmmaker and to PBS for making it so widely accessible. I have since learned that this movie was screened in my area and reviewed in my local paper several months ago, yet at the time I overlooked it because it didn't seem to be something I could relate to. For one thing, I am not black, although I am in a racial minority, and I have had little exposure to the figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nor am I gay, although I have known people who are homosexual or bisexual. I confess to having experienced varying degrees of homophobia and a general lack of understanding about what it is like to be gay. As a teenager I even wrote a letter to an elected official asking him to limit public expressions of homosexual behavior. But during the past few years, reading about the experiences of gay people and seeing films such as this one have helped me take a more sympathetic view toward the status of gays in our society.

I decided to watch Brother to Brother because I enjoy Independent Lens and the variety of novel perspectives it provides. The film series has no parallel on television where I live (except perhaps the Sundance Channel, but I don't have cable). Many of the programs in the series have made an impression on me, but I thought this one was especially well conceived and executed. I particularly liked the portrayal of the cross-generational friendship between Perry and Bruce Nugent and the way it tightly linked the present to the rich (if difficult) past.

While watching the film, I found that I identified with Perry as well as the young Bruce. Since I am not homosexual and do not consider myself particularly creative, I tried to figure out why. Then I realized that we share a lot of other things: the state of being young and outside of the mainstream; the sense of social isolation because of one's race or other unusual characteristics; the universal need to be understood and loved; the urge to artfully express one's thoughts as both an exploration and a release; the idealistic desire to be true to one's art and oneself (i.e., not selling out); the struggle to overcome ingrained prejudices and resentments -- I'm sure there are more, but I'm just naming several that come to mind.

A lot of those issues, of course, are common to many people regardless of their sexuality. But they strike the characters of this story more acutely because in addition to those problems, they have to deal with the severe intolerance of gays that persists in our society. In Perry's case, this intolerance is compounded by a hostile intra-racial attitude toward homosexuals, a phenomenon which I admit to knowing little about. However, I can relate to being marginalized within one's own race, as at times I have been viewed as too "American" by my more ethnically "pure" friends. So anyone who would dismiss this as a niche film that appeals only to gays or blacks would be mistaken, because the story touches on many separate matters.

Nevertheless, the sexual orientation of the protagonists is a central theme of the narrative, and it is treated with the gravity it deserves -- and a bit of humor besides. Perry's loneliness and frustration are abundantly clear; even in a predominantly black school, he struggles to find companions who truly understand him. While I imagine that life was even more precarious for Nugent and other gay black men early in the 20th century, one impression I got from the film is that Nugent and his Harlem Renaissance friends were fortunate to have found each other -- a group of like minds with whom they could work and play and be themselves without fear of rejection or vilification. They had scarce recourse, as being both Negro and homosexual presented a double hurdle to success in the arts at that time: while an artist could hide his sexual behavior from the public, hiding one's skin color was not so easy. (Oddly, it seems that the real-life Nugent was successful at the latter and not the former.) And while society has opened up slightly to the idea of homosexuality since then, intolerance and misunderstanding linger still. The connection made between Perry and Bruce leaves an encouraging note for those who feel alienated in their own communities -- namely, that one is never truly alone, that somewhere, sometime, someone has felt the same feelings and frustrations and survived.

The film is a remarkable achievement for a debut feature, although it isn't perfect. Among its faults is that the relationship between Perry and Jim is poorly developed, making it hard to believe the changes as they happen. The dialogue is at best functional; it often sounded unnatural to my ears. And the conflict between Perry and his antagonistic classmate unfolds predictably (perhaps I've seen too many rap videos). But I think the work as a whole rises above its weaknesses to present a coherent, compelling story. 6/20/05
Steven Mayerson
Ashland, Oregon

To Mr Evans:
Thank you.
As a 55 year old gay man who walked in his first Gay Pride parades more than 30 years ago, I resonated with your wonderful film. There is a paralell between the African American struggle for respect and the struggle gay peoples of all races face. You portrayed that with great insight.
I have a thought about the structure of your film:
In the scenes that depict our young heros reaction to his white dates offensive remark you show him leaping out of bed and going to the baths. There, he reacts very unhappyly after having even more sex. The reason is later explained as his wish for an understanding, loving and caring relationship. Unfortunately, the structure of the film makes him seem ashamed of sex with men.
Forgive me but, why couldn't he address his problem with the insensative remark then and there? That way, Your film would have more clarity about the ideas of gay pride and black pride.
Or did I get that impression because of some editing done for broadcast?
Thank You.
Steven 6/20/05
kristie lewis
westland, mi

I watched Brother to Brother last night and was so impressed with this movie. I believe that controversy is important in writing and art. Alot ot times, the "arts" portray imagines and ideas that are pivotal to society, representing voices of those often unheard. Its, quite ironic how issues during the Harlem Renaissance are so important in society and the African American experience today. This movie was trully a delight, I was so moved that I couldn't wait to tell others. It has also inspired me to do further research on the lessor known artist of the period. Once again, wonderful job, can't wait to get the video. Wonderful enlightment and education. 6/20/05
Kitty Hall
Pasadena, California

Just when I had thought television had reached the pits, along comes a high point - something to inspire filmmakers and audiences alike. Thank you for broadcasting this beautiful film on PBS. I am looking forward to seeing "Brother to Brother" repeated, so that I can tell my friends. 6/20/05
J.D. Force
Kahana, Maui, HI

I had the pleasure of viewing "Brother to Brother" on PBS, as part of their Independent Lens series, and I truly can say is that it is moving beyond words. It is superbly written, directed and acted. Rich in heart, thought, and wit, Rodney Evanss fictional work undoubtedly does justice to the art, intellectual ancestry and the strength of perseverance in the face of social injustice. Both an artistic and political achievement, Brother to Brother offers a rare glimpse of what it means to be a black, gay artist today as well as during the Harlem Renaissance, and marks Evans as a brave and unique voice in American cinema. Perry Williams is a talented young artist working and studying in New York. Art world success is knocking at his door, but Perry is afraid of selling out to a white privileged world. At the same time, community and family support is elusive as he endures homophobic barbs from his black classmates, rejection by his father, and a disappointing shallow relationship with his handsome white lover. Then Perry meets Richard Bruce Nugent, a living relic, who was a poet and painter of the Harlem Renaissance, along with Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Wallace Thurman. Surreal narrative turns land him in the middle of scandalous parties and dinners in 1930s Harlem, and Perry learns that his struggle is not new and what is most important is a strong self-image and a commitment to preserve truth and nurture his artistic spirit. Thank you, Mr. Evans, for your strength of character and undeniable power to give voice to such a profound blend of Fact and Fiction. 6/20/05 Normajean Gradsky El Paso, TX This film stimulates a mryiad of nerves, heartstrings and brainwaves. So much more satisfying and thought provoking than the usual commercial fare (I walked out one of Hollywood's latest star-studded drivel-fests just the other day). I just caught the film on pbs as I was going to sleep--it is now 4:20 am but I had to log on to know more--such is the effect of artistry. Thank you. 6/20/05
J. Jones
Los Angeles CA

The film's authentic portrayal of the human condition in conjunction with Evans' exquisite illustration of Harlem's former creative community has left me enamored. The parallel between past and present is undeniably compelling and the brilliant directing makes 90 minutes indeed enougth time to tackle the many issues addressed. Movie making is about provoking thought,evoking emotion and telling a relatable story. The use of diversity to convey universal feelings of anger,frustration,sadness and longing is key. Brother to Brother in every way captures these crucial elements and presents to the viewer an unforgettable, dramatic masterpiece, which most importanly provokes awareness. 6/20/05
Eric Jackson
Los Angeles, CA

I tuned to this program and was intending to watch it as I did work on my computer. It didn't take long before I realized I had not punched a single key on my keyboard and that I was totally immersed in this extremely creative, historic and thought provoking masterpiece. I am not gay but found myself hurting from the stories of ignorance and intolerance.

I started thinking about who I would call to tell them about this film and it occurred to me that none of my friends would have either the guts or the interest to see it...much less talk about it.

I'm sitting here right now wondering about my choice of friends. I'm glad to see so much positive feedback to this great art! 6/20/05
michael Colefax
Los Angeles

I somehow lost my remarks. Which I tried to send, but moments ago. In soma,
I think this film is amazing, and I am white. I found, in these two people, a need. And it was expressed, and, in it's way consummnated.
But that was not the point.
The point was, there was this artist, this writer,and this amazing physical beauty ...in fact, who managed to commune. "Commune" in the best of senses.
For there had been a moment
Of True Love.
No matter what churches forbade.
There had been, probably sensation. But more, there gad been care.
The film, alas, ends on a more than sadder note, with the writer's death.
But, in ends, too, on the glory of accomplishment, and the sensation of art And love, hidden though it may be. 6/20/05
Walter Moores
Oakland, MS

Brother to Brother is an outstanding feat in cinematogaphy. Movies that switch from black and white to color always have me transfixed. The intermingling of the two formats was masterfully done and should ensure an Emmy.

Not ever having been on a subway, I really got the feel for one through the camera's eye. I thought I was on an amusement park ride.

There is no controversy with the literary aspects of this film; neither is there a problem with the interracial life style. Brother to Brother is on the cutting edge.

My only negative comments regard the homosexual lifestyle coming to close to the edge, particularly in the public toilet scene and the love-making scene in bed. The director didn't need to take us this far into the private lives of the characters.

Finally, the film is a masterpiece in telling the story of black writers in the early twentieth century. 6/20/05
allan fletcher
vancouver canada

I'm prompted to contribute for two reasons. Firstly, browsing through the messages (albeit, quickly) revealed no Canadian postings. Secondly, I have to take issue with MJ Davis of Chicago. This kind of trashing (and I use that term advisedly) requires a response. Interestingly, many of those who write to convey what they like about the film or find moving in it give specific examples and reasons. Yet MJ appears to feel justified in indicting the film as "technically uninteresting", poorly acted and an example of "plain old bad movie-making" with little or no explanation of what lies behind these assessments. This is irresponsible criticism that doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. How can we assess the validity of such comments when no information is forthcoming about the criteria being applied. What does MJ consider to be technically interesting in film? What constitutes good acting? Which works qualify as superior examples of the film-maker's art? Fair comment strives to be both informative and constructive rather than vague and pejorative. Such remarks are all to easy to make, and they do a disservice to those who struggle against formidable odds to represent perspectives that are rarely seen. 6/17/05
Elizabeth Mark
Alexandria VA

Just as i am ready to give up on finding something really thought provoking and artistically fine on television, I am lucky enought to have decided to turn to PBS and Independent Lens , however belatedly. This movie is beautifull I want to be sure to tell PBS that this is exactly what they need to be doing. I know that an entire evening of British comedy may please some people but for me it just means there is no where to go. I am white, 77 years old, and heterosexual ( married 55 years to the same man!) but I enjoy learning about how other people live and I enjoy artistic mastery in all media. Don't let the people who close their minds to everything but their own prejudices prevent you from continuing to air masterpieces like this. 6/17/05
Ronald Wharton
Baltimore, Maryland

Most of the previous comments I've read do a great job of expressing exactly how I felt afer viewing this film last night. All I can say is thank you PBS for broadcasting a wonderful film and thanks to Mr. Evans for creating the best film I've ever seen portraying black gay artist. I was completely mesmerized from start to finish. 6/17/05
Denise

This film was just wonderful. As a young person seeing this film opened my eyes to many things. I have set through History class many times and never once have I heard about the gay harlem renaissance and the people who we learn about all the time that we're involved in it. I hope everyone will view this film it was EXCELLENT. 6/17/05
Stephanie
Arlington, VA

What a beautifully written and acted story. The flashbacks are so genuine, the relationships are so honest. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. 6/17/05
KIMBERLY JACKSON
HOUSTON TEXAS

IAM SO PROUD OF THIS FILM, I FELT LIKE I WROTE IT MYSELF! I CAME IN ON THE LAST 30 OR 40 MINUTES OF THE MOVIE, BUT I HAVE SEEN NO OTHER THAT COMPARES TO ITS REALNESS. OUR COMMUNITY NEEDED THIS FILM. OUR BLACK MEN GAY AND STRAIGHT NEED TO SEE THIS FILM. I AGAIN AM SO PROUD OF ALL THE WRITERS AND ACTORS WHO MADE THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE COME ALIVE AGAIN IN THIS NEW GENERATION. I HAVE NOW A NEW APPRECIATION OF HUGHES, HURSTON, NUGENT AND ALL THE OTHER CHARACTERS.HATS OFF TO PBS FOR NOT BEING AFRAID TO SHOW HONESTY IN A FILM AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR CULTURE. I HAVE SHARED THIS FILM WITH EVERY ONE THAT I KNOW. PLEASE PLAY IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. IT DESERVES AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE. 6/17/05
MJ Davis
Chicago, Illinois

I commend Independent Lens for providing an opportunity for artists with non-traditional stories and techniques to show their work and for allowing an audience eager to see something non-Hollywood, opportunity to see such work.

The Harlem Rennaissance represents a complex era for the history of American arts and letters (Black and White) for it is full of compelling characters with stories waiting to be told. Richard Bruce Nugent is one such character and his is such a story.

Unfortunately, Evans' weak film nearly cancels out this potential by trying to tackle too many issues in a brief, technically uninteresting film. The comparisons and contrasts drawn between the lives of Nugent and Perry are painfully heavy-handed. It would have been enough to focus on the conflict within the Black community (then and now). But to think that this conflict could be developed alongside questions about artistic integrity, the difficulty in navigating gay relationships, etc is overly ambitious for a 90 minute work.

What's more, with the exception of the actor who played the older Nugent and the one who played the young Langston Hughes, none of the performances are compelling. This includes the lead actor, who doesn't have the depth to communicate the crisis the main character is in.

This film also suffers from a lack of directorial vision, interesting score, and effective pacing. While some of these deficiencies may be the effect of budget limitations, most are the effect of plain old bad movie-making. 6/16/05
Sveva
Oklahoma City, OK

What a relief it is that PBS and shows like Independent Lens continue to be champions for diversity, arts and humanities and simply telling compelling stories about real issues that everyday people face and endure. Brother to Brother was a wonderful fictional glimpse into the life of a ordinary young man who could have been facing any challenge. For black America, I m glad Rodney Evans was brave enough to touch on a taboo subject and make black gayness real and tangible. From a heterosexual from the Bible Belt, Mr. Evans conquered a mountain many artists never even reachphe made his characters real and their stories rich and moving. May PBS and Independent Lens continue on this great quest to keep American audiences enriched by wonderful stories both fictional and true! 6/16/05
Dorian
Belize

I thought that the film was very convincing and reflected my present society today and the state that it is in. In reality the reactions of the general public is not as biblically responsive, but more ignorant to the choice of open relationships. Despite this there is no corner here for the outcasts to assemble, but they perform a show with the opposite sex in the nightclubs. This simply means that they try to reduce discrimination,by presenting false images to the unattentive and those who are Naive. Nevertheless, the style of dressing is most relative to my society than any other, but I cannot say that there was ever an encounter that brought about the defeat of the Outcasted. So this strongly suggests to me that here, there is displeasure, but some transparent respect for right of assoiciation and the individual. I give the film 5 thousand stars and hope that PBS continues to bring more of these images and views to fruition continuously. the film's composition is the most appealing and captivating of all movies I have ever seen, this also includes series that dilutes the reality and exagerate on the circumstances. The setting and characters are very AWSOME! i cannot continue to discvribe the magnitude of my appreciation and the applause i gave after watching this film. I always watch television and have never been able to comment on the show or video, simply becasue the effect was superficial. I made a pledge that I would look up the Channels web site and write about it. That is how powerful the effect of this channel is and the programs as well. I bow down to the directors and compasers, especially the writers, producers and actors. Their display has been heart touching to say the least and it is the first time that i have felt this way about a film, I guess maybe because it depicts my society and the life of my friends as well. I hope that this continues and I will by the products especially affiliated with this movie.

Thanks for the opportunity to express my view. 6/16/05
Kai
St. Albans, New York

Like some of the others who saw this film, I too caught it after it had started and only by chance. However, it was so compellingly alive, I was hooked to the end.

Not being an American, I gained a great insight into the struggles of growing up gay in America in the 60s and, even though there have been great strides over the decades, how much things have remained the same. It was more ironic for me because the same night I listened on the news to a story of gay-bashing in Brooklyn.

What was most poignant for me though, was how much I could relate to the teenagers marginalisation, isolation and loneliness. I guess the movie burst my bubble about how open and accepting America is about homosexuality. It has shown me that there are guys out there who, like me, who are looking for acceptance and love, not based upon what we may or may not have to offer or how we may or may not look, but simply for who were are . . . a guy wanting to be loved and to love in return. Congrats to the cast and crew for such a superb rendering of the theme and for giving me such an intimate glance into the life of Bruce Nugent and all the "Perry"s of our time. Keep up the good work PBS. 6/16/05
peter kope
pgh pa

I was so thoroughly entranced by this movie. I was moved, thrilled and completely engaged. I was touched by the acting writing and the feel of this film. Fantastic job to the creative team involved.

Then came the credits.

I watched the film and waited to see who, where, how...all information conatained in the credits. While the big funders had their logo placement...Susan Sarenden had plenty of time to introduce the film...why did this debut filmmaker have to rush his credits at this obscene pace? Those who worked on this film deserve the same time as Ms. Sarenden at the least.

Please respond or more appropriately please fix. Independent lens should do better. 6/16/05
marlene p. lewis
madison, virginia

There is a God that leads and guides each of us to what we need, when we need it most. Tonight was my night. I was given "Brother to Brother"! As a devotee of both Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes--and always curious about their relationship-- I knew the moment that I heard the language and saw the fashions that I had come upon something great. My viewing began midway the film, but I was riveted to both storyline and the magnificent performance given by each actor. Having studied the Harlem Rennaisance in both undergraduate and graduate school, and having threatened to write the definitive work on Zora Neale Hurston the person, the joy that I've held for literature (which I thought buried by life-happening), suddenly reappeared. You've re-awakened the sleeping giant. I could go on and on, but I am afraid that the reader who encounters this will send out the troops for me. While "thank you" PBS feels far too inadquate to express my appreciation, it is all I have. So, thank you for a wonderful evening of re-learning, entertainment, and giving me an even broader understanding of what our artists overcame in order to produce. 6/16/05
reshawn brown
jacksonville ave

i really enjoyed to feature i think every young gay&hetrosexual male or female even older people should watch this feature and learn, not judge with sterotypes but love and not hate...! i for am like perry williams this movie was a great lesson in history... 6/16/05
TJ Shipley
Pueblo, CO

As a Christain, I can't support the gay lifestyle. It is sin and condemned by the Lord God. The Bible says homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The homosexuals must repent of their sin and turn to Jesus.

Homosexuality is an inescapably religious issue. Morality is defined by religion. Repent and believe and your sins will be forgiven. 6/16/05
J. Dupart
Houston, TX

I missed the beginning of the movie, but when I realized what it was about, I felt compelled to watch it. Excellent film! I am so glad that someone had the courage and insight to make this movie. Society is currently being forced to face issues like homosexuality, but it seems like no one is focusing on what it's like to be a gay minority. As a black lesbian, I am familiar with the struggles to fit in and find your space in society, and I think that everyone did such a great job making the audience really feel what it's like to be different. I thank Mr. Evans and PBS for bringing us this film. 6/15/05
Rev. Donor Macneice
Kilauea, Hawaii

I tuned into "Brother to Brother" merely by chance. It had already been on air about 15 minutes so I missed the start. However, I found it such a compelling play, I watched it right through. The acting of all - especially Anthony Mackie was superb. The whole subject of the young people coming to terms with who they were and the problems with growing up gay was dealt with in a most sensitive and brilliant way. In by work I often come across similar situations, and as a result I found this entire play extraordinarily compelling. I shall get the DVD of this production as it should be seen by many. Thank you for work and for the artists who acted in it. 6/15/05
Roger T. Ward
Houston, Texas

I just watched the film Brother to Brother last night in Houston and I was very grateful to see the positive dynamics of black gay life on television. Indeed, the life that many of us black gay men lead is not all that pleasant. Racial and sexual orientation discrimination is rampant here in Houston. I am a 46 yar old black gay man and I have been paying a price for that having been born and raised here in Harris county Texas. I have been effectively run out of the pubic school teaching profession due to my being homosexual. I have never made any inappropriate gestures or comments to students or staff while working as a public school teacher. Still I am unable to find work and I will not be renewing my teaching certificate this August when it comes up for renewal. I am still looking for work in other areas such as office administration. I have a MA Degree in History and am a 7 year Honorably discharged Navy veteran. I have also self-published my first book in 1998 entitled Anger Is What I Do Best and am trying to have that volume and another entitled Borrow My God published together in conjunction with First Books, Inc. this Fall, if I can get a job and help pay for the pubishing costs.

I have made mistakes in life, but who has not. Yet, being black and gay, my mistakes all tend to reflect some type of image about blackness and gayness. This is why I so enjoyed the film Brother to Brother. Thanks PBS and Independent Lens for your support. 6/15/05
Darrell Marcy
Syracuse, NY

I watched this program last night. I loved it. It was the first fiction work (sitecom, drama, entertainment) I've watched from start to finish on television in some time, maybe years. I thought I recognized the actor that played Bruce, wasn't he on "The Cosby Show" or something.

If a work is controversial, that just means it's making a point that everyone doesn't agree with. I don't think it's even possible to have some art, writing anyway, that everyone agrees with.

I don't know, maybe the landscape has not changed much. You regularly still hear about works getting people in trouble because of what they say or express. I think Evans was showing the courage of his convictions in this work, and it's a beautiful work. No doubt he'll be looked at in a bad light, maybe even hated be some segments of the society.

I certainly agree with Evans about whomever has the power, money, to make films in the industry limits things you'll see to whatever is acceptable to them. That's why it's so important to not let that power concentrate itself into fewer and fewer hands. Unfortunately power is already extremely concentrated in very few hands in the media. That's why there's nothing worth watching on comercial TV. It's even more frietening when the news becomes dominated by a handful of owners. That's the state we're in now, and for example it's why no news agency demanded proof that Saddam had WMD's. 6/15/05
M Adams
Chicago, IL

I tuned into the film about 20 minutes in ...I enjoyed the movie about the struggles and the behind the scenes issues that these great writers and artists had. It has inspired me to go and renew myself with the Period and its contributors. 6/15/05
Wesley Jenkins
Houston,TX

Evans was very brave to tackle the complicated issues of race and sexuality in todays increasingly intolerant society. He tells us that there's no shame in the homo game. It's a message we need to here. Black men don't want to admit they're gay, its a mark of disgrace upon them that others in the black community could never forgive them for. This movie champions the cause of the gay black man by saying "we're here, we're queer, and we brought some fried chicken" The characters question who they are, not what they are. Inspiring. As I said before, there's no shame in their game and even if there was we all have to realize that one shouldn't hate the playa' so much as the game. Peace out. 6/15/05
Elliott batTzedek
Philadelphia, PA

I happened upon this film last night, as it was too hot to do my usual evening round of work. It was amazing, especially in the inter-generational connections made, both in the friendship and the cultural scenes of both eras. In some ways, so little has changed, especially the pressure of commercialism/profit-making exerts to tame and smooth radical, new, viewpoints. (note: my PBS station bleeped out the rare but tame obscenity, which in some ways just echoed this point of the film). I'm no expert, but I have read a lot of novels and poems by writers of the Harlem Renaissance; the flashback scenes gave me a new appreciation of who they were, what they were doing, and the barriers they faced outside and inside of their communities. 6/15/05
Toledo, OH

I was very amazed by this film. There were points in the film that I cried and parts that I laughed. As a Caucasian women watching this movie it reminded me of a african american version of Fried Green Tomatoes, which is one of my favorites. The actors/actresses played wonderful roles. I really enjoyed the program. 6/15/05
David Peel
Denver, Colorado

This is a beautiful and brilliant film. I have no doubt that Rodney Evans had trouble getting this made, like the progressive writers in the film being told their writing must be tailored to address "what the public wants". They stood firm and so did Rodney. Thanks for being true to your vision. This film teaches, moves, inspires and relates in a way that no film "the public wants" ever could. I can't imagine anyone viewing 'Brother to Brother' and not getting something of value from the experience. 6/15/05
Alicia Tolbert
Dallas, TX

I cannot begin to address the range of emotions I felt while watching Brother to Brother. First, let me say it is a breathtaking film in scope and dimension. The acting was first rate and honest, as good or, dare I say, better then anything I've seen on the big screen. The story was poignant and touching and I loved it's heart. It's an awesome film!! I'm so much better for having seen it. 6/15/05
Connie
Dallas,TX

This piece was so riveting. It's amazing how one person can open another's eyes allowing them a precious glimpse at "the inner being". 6/15/05
madeline demand
syracuse,ny

Thank you so much for this superb program. Will it be on again and if so when? Thank you again.

Cordially,
Madeline Demand 6/15/05
Angela
Midwest City OK


I have never heard of independent lense and only caught the last hour of this awesome movie!!!!! Well done!!! Give us more ... much more of this type of programming. 6/15/05
Ms. Chaz Kyser
Brooklyn, NY


Brother to Brother was an excellent film, and one of the best I have seen that discussed the life of gay black males. Of course I also loved a chance to see the film writer's vision of what life was like during the Harlem Renaissance for Hughes, Hurston and other less-known writers like Nugent. I plan on buying the movie if it's available. Oh..and I know this may sound silly, but Anthony Mackie is talented and quite handsome. Is there any chance someone can pass along my email address? 6/15/05
Gretchen
Proctor, MN


I found the film to be very stirring and touching. I don't share the same background as the characters, but I've experienced the pain and struggle of being different (thankfully) than the mainstream of society. I'd rather be different and feel more than be 'normal' and shut those things out.

I don't necessarily think that controversy is essential in the expression of the arts. However, I think that controversy is an integral part of getting attention for the works. Look at the difference between 'The Passion of the Christ' and the movie 'Jesus' that was put out years ago and very few people have heard of. Same story, completely differnt presentation. Controversial subjects and presentation of those subjects attracts attention and hopefully attracts people to view the movies, or read the books, or see the plays that are those subjects' avenues for exposure. The controversy doesn't lie in the subject matter as much as it lies in the beholder's mind and heart.

Rodney Evans was extremely brave in the making of 'Brother to Brother'. While the subjects covered aren't as taboo as they were in the earlier part of the twentieth century, most of them still aren't widely discussed. I applaud Mr. Evans for not only taking on the project, but for seeing it through over the years that it took to complete the project. I think the subject matter is very relevant to our time and I think it took a lot of guts to bring it out. I read somewhere that an overwhelming amount of the actors that read for parts in the movie didn't want to play the role of 'Perry'. That says a lot right there. But just as the characters in the movie were unable to deny who they were and how they felt, Mr. Evans seems to have embraced his feelings and desire to produce a work that needed to be heard, even if the 'moral majority' didn't approve. Thank you Mr. Evans for your perseverence. While so many things have changed in our lives, so much has stayed the same.

I think it's vital that films that deal in diverse subject matters be funded. Fiction is a great escape, but we also need to look at reality too. Too many people find refuge in the make-believe world and turn a blind eye to our own.

I found the movie to be very provocative and stirring. I 'd never heard of the movie before I saw it on PBS. I couldn't turn it off. It forced me, more invitation than force, to go beyond how I might feel about these people to appreciate, as much as I could, the struggle that they went through to be themselves and to be recognized for who and what they were.

After the movie was over, I started looking for more information. I wanted to learn more about the movie, the director, and the characters. While it is a work of fiction, real people were involved in the story.

Thanks to Rodney Evans for the movie, and thanks to PBS for airing it. As network television and cable continue to carry worse programming, PBS is different. Thank you for helping our eyes and hearts to open wider. 6/15/05
Roderick Cornelius
Jackson, Mississippi

In my opinion, controversy is necessary for some artistic forms to be viewed and heard by a wider audience. The "buzz" of taboo will usually make a traditionally offended segment of the population pay attention and deal with issues that are not usually voiced in mass and mainstream media. Evans was very brave in making "Brother to Brother." He captured a deep-lying undertone of the Harlem Renaissance movement. The Harlem Renaissance was a time where the "norms" of American society were challenged and changed. During the 1920s, youth decided to meet unknown views of race, gender, sexuality, and art head on. I agree with Evans by saying that it depends on who one knows, not what one knows in getting a film made. It is also about commerce and what is "in" at the time a movie is being produced. The corporate movie studios will often not touch a meaningful project because it would not be a money making vehicle for them. It is important to fund films with diverse themes in order to enlighten and inspire those whose voices have not been heard to make their causes known by greater society. 6/15/05
C. Berry
Chicago, IL

I thought that this was an extraordinarily sensitive film that touched on the subtleties and complexities so often overlooked in our nostalgic "histories." The performances were beautiful and the interplay of the old footage, recreations and present were skillfully interwoven. Thank you for bringing this to all of us. 6/15/05
Gregory Kissentaner
Cedar Hill, TX

The landscape has changed very little since the Harlem Renaissance with regard to artistic expression. Just as in the scene where Wallace Thurman and Zora Neale Hurston were meeting with the book publisher and asked to compromise their artistic integrity, I believe today's artists, to a great extent, are suppressed by publishers whose main concern is the financial bottom line and appealing to a wide audience. I was especially heartened to see this film on PBS at a time when the current executive administration in Washington is pushing a socially conservative agenda and the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is openly accusing PBS of liberal bias and calling for more conservative viewpoints. The good news is that there are other types of media where artistic expression may thrive, especially the Internet. I applaud Evans for making such a thought provoking film at a time when mainstream (Hollywood) film-making is concerned with churning out violence and sex-filled blockbuster hits that gross big dollars in a short period time. Evans also touched on many issues within the African-American community which need more open dialogue-especially homophobia within the black community and the selective use of biblical scripture to brow-beat gays within the African-American community. I was also glad to see that the film did not portray all African-Americans as homophobic but still shed light on the issue. The film highlighted some of the literary and intellectual contributions of gay African-Americans to American culture and just knowing that gay African-Americans have made substantial contributions to American literature is very inspiring. This can help to change the image of homosexuals as a mostly hedonistic sub-culture within society. 6/15/05
Mari
mobile, al

"....no one loves a genius child...."
This movie is so well written and acted that it shocks me that it's on network tv in Alabama! Bravo to the judgement at APT. The visual images are throughly provoking while the writing clearly illustrates the thoughts and feelings of the characters. The writing is really amazing. The movie is so clever, you feel as though you've fallen into these people's skins! 6/15/05
Robert Turner
Bronx, N.Y.

This is the most profound insight in the Harlem renaissance and those black gay artist who existed in the shadows of others because of their sexualual preference. There is a thirst among the African American gay and lesbian community depicting our contributions as people of integrity,honesty,sincerity,love, passion and conviction. 6/15/05
David Winfree
Toledo, Ohio

I think that controversy is definitely beneficial in art and writing...mainly because people, in general, want to be challenged...to be made to see and feel things that are out of"society's normal routine.Controversy makes people dig deeper inside themselves to "pick a side"..."how do I really feel"...which in turn, makes them more confident in themselves period. I think that Rodney Evans was very brave and insightful to make this film. I can relate to it....we need more of it. I also think that the "landscape" of doing something like this might be more supported these days, than during the"Harlem Renaisance". I believe we do have a "little" more freedom of expression nowadays....but there are still some of us who just aren't ready to move ahead. I do agree with Rodney on the film funding issue. Everyone seems to be afraid to back something "diverse"....especially if it's dealing with homosexuality. We need to stop being afraid of what's real in this world. How can we move forward, if we keep standing still..
this is the importance of funding films with diverse subject matters...it's about moving ahead...Thank you Mr. Evans. 6/15/05
Joy Lee
Blue Island Il.

I watched thw film on wttw Chicago, on June the 14th. I found the film to be interesting, fabulouse to look at. I was not familiar with the charectors portraid in the story, but imidatly after the brocast ended. I found myself at the computer, looking up the web site to find out more about about them, and the whole subject matter, and to let someone know how much I enjoyed the film. thank you for giving me the opertunity to do both. Joy.m.Lee 6/15/05
Maggie
Montreal

I like that – an invitation to respond to a thoughtful dialogue! A first for Independent Lens Talkback in my experience. I accept, but first want say that I found the film Brother to Brother to be luminous, illuminating, educating, brilliant and it touched my heart and made my body tremble. Good questions for Talkback:

Controversy is a natural part of the arts & the written/spoken word. These mediums of expression are a perfect way to bring out to the world what is hidden, lost & forgotten. The creator can benefit by being healed of the wounds of distressful experiences, and others who see/read/hear her work are enriched. The community and world at large can benefit by learning empathy and hopefully use that to become whole human beings. The simplest painting can be revealing. I painted giant pink triangles in my early thirties. The art critics in my city even noticed them. I hadn’t a clue what the symbol meant until I turned forty. It then became my own personal controversy to come out as a lesbian.

Freedom of artistic expression is again at risk today. There is now a subcommittee in Washington DC that is trying take away all government funding for PBS programs in the next 2 years. On tonight’s US news I watched parents trying to get books about gay families out of their local libraries so their children won’t be able to see them. So yes, Evans was being brave by making Brother to Brother. I feel like we’re right back in the early 1900s, despite all the positive things that have happened since then.

Though independent films have come into the public consciousness, money & power still keep a lot of diversity out of the mainstream. The world needs more films like Brother to Brother. Hollywood should be seeking out the millions of untold stories like this, instead of rehashing the few we’ve been glutted with since film began. Until then, viewers and readers will remain under the illusion that the dominant culture is really the “only true way”. Best of luck with your future work. 6/15/05

I enjoyed the movie in that a dimension of black (African American) culture that certainly known, yet not openly tolerated within all aspects of the culture (and to a degree the larger society, ) is exposed. The film, through its linkage of known individuals of the Harlem Renissance literary culture and events, and gay characters in the 21st century black experience, provides a powerful insight to and apppreciation of both the power of and the ability and need for both the oral and written traditions and art forms in order to truely express the diversity of humankind. 6/15/05
Scott Cooke
toledo, ohio

Wonderfully done! Thanks!! 6/15/05
Chipo

i think this is a great movie. it really shows the troubles that people in the harlem renessaince dealt with, and how little appreciation they got. i think they should be another movie like this one. the actora did a great good. they really protraited the people like they were. i love this movie and it really has changed my views on life. 6/12/05
Brett Kelly
Forest Ohio

In a day when right wing media and politics has usurped much of our culture I think that PBS is one of the few mediums for representing the majority that isn't far right or left. Homosexuality has become one of the litmus test issues within cutlture. I heard advertising for this show and it was upsetting. It is my hope that you do not air this series at this time. I believe PBS and our culture in general have bigger and more serious issues at stake than airing something that will become a lightening rod simply for the pre-supposed subject matter. Controversy is beneficial, but it must be subtle, and not advertised in bold strokes. Some might find Evans being "brave" for this topic most in the African-American community probably will see it differently. Many in the film industry will find a great deal of value in this story, I don't think the general public will.
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