Brother’s Keeper, Directors – Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Brother’s Keeper is a film that was released 25 years ago and was a landmark film in that it was an example of verité documentary style. The filmmakers followed the murder trial of a man accused of murdering his brother. The film focussed on four brothers who lived together in poverty and squalor on their diary farm in rural New York State. One day they awoke to find the eldest dead in his bed apparently having died in his sleep. The coroner however determines that it appears he was suffocated and suspicion falls on his brother who shared the bed with him. The police decide to charge the brother with murder. The case drew statewide and nationwide attention as the small community came to the defence of the brother and raised awareness of the whole trial. The directors decided it would make an interesting study and without knowing the outcome came and asked permission to follow the process over several months. The images of the three remaining brothers in their poverty and illiteracy facing off against the prosecution is difficult to watch but very powerful. We were lucky enough to have Joe Berlinger there for a Q and A which gave even greater insight to the making of the film. I will not tell you the end as this is a movie you all should see but the verité style combined with brilliant editing make the story moving. Politically relevant, and full of tension too. It is available on Netflix and it is worth your time to find it and watch it.