MakeDox is an international documentary film festival held each August since 2010. The festival takes place in the Caravan Serai- Kurshumli, an Ottoman building in the center of the Old Bazar of Skopje, Macedonia.
Born from the initiative of documentary film fans, the festival has quickly become one of the most relevant events on a regional and national level. A specific and careful selection of movies is its main characteristic. The festival, where about 80 films are screened, is associated with several cultural events such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and concerts.
One of the most interesting movies I bumped into is Brother (original title Brødre), directed by the Norwegian filmmaker Aslaug Holm, produced by Fernis Film and distributed in 2015. Spontaneously tidy from an aesthetic point of view, the film drives the audience to reconsider the beauty of routine and of our surroundings. It continuously reminds us, through instinctive shots, rich chromatic palettes, and diffused lighting, how cinematic everyday life might be.
Markus and Lukas are brothers, we meet them when they are ages five and eight, and we follow them, more or less discretely, for ten years, until their adolescence.
From the very first sequence, their specific personalities are declared: Markus, the elder, is a physical boy, he loves football and Green Day; Lukas is more clumsy, shy, and introspective.
What we see in the film is their constant chase of something, all these elements that, put together, settle them as human beings. During the film, they are alternately, brothers, friends, enemies, sons, students, football players, and much more. We also understand how, no human relation can be uniquely conceived, teaching us to take into account all sides of the coin.
Beside the children, there is a third character, declared and composed. The camera, the mum, the family, the institution. Also in this case, indeed, we have the privilege to see how, depending on the contest and on the moment, the kid’s reaction to it is really different.
Almost the whole time, they don’t perceive it as intrusive in their lives. They welcome it and play with it. There are some moments where, on the other hand, this presence becomes excessive, awkward, and unbearable, causing aggressiveness towards the media and the person behind.
I couldn’t avoid, for the whole movie, to question myself on what are the limits. When was it necessary, for Aslaug Holm, to give up on the movie, her beloved project, and go back to devoting herself to her sons?
Finally, the movie is full of food for thought, both concerning the visual aspect and the contents, mainly linked to the nature of interpersonal and family relationships, parenting, ambitions (where do a child’s ambitions stop and start, and those of a parent?), roots and the path we are all covering, life.