The film by Alexei Balabanov “Brother” (1997) is a cult for a Russian man who survived the 90s. It is unlikely that in our country you can meet someone who is unfamiliar with the name of Danila Bagrov. This, undoubtedly, is the merit of Balabanov as a director. He managed to unite the disparate majority in a single stream of love for this picture. What is the meaning of the movie “Brother”? Why is it still one of the most beloved films of Russians?
What is the movie “Brother” about?
The plot of this crime drama is simple, like the very image of the protagonist. Demobilization Danila returns to his hometown after serving in the army. Having accidentally disrupted the shooting of the video of the Nautilus Pompilius group, he ends up in the police. The mother, dissatisfied with her idle son, sends him to his brother in Petersburg.
Brother Viktor, who, according to his mother, is a “big man”, in fact turns out to be a killer Tatarin. He draws Danila into a criminal showdown and every time he comes up with reasons for his younger brother to commit the murder. Daniel is ready to do anything for his brother. One day, the Tatar sets up Danila on a large scale, but he does not seem to want to notice this.
In the course of the film, the protagonist meets and starts relationships with characters who do not belong to the criminal world. He, like Ivan from a fairy tale, meets different heroes on his way, lying in the unknown. Russified German Hoffman, whom Danila saves from racketeers. Svetlana is a carriage driver who sheltered Bagrov from the bandits. Party girl Kate. All these characters are secondary, but Balabanov needs them to fully reveal the image of Danila.
The meaning of the movie Brother
What is the secret of the painting? Why did a film made in a month with an almost zero budget evoke such emotions? After all, there was no action, no special effects, no special dynamics. There was Peter, the harsh 90s, poverty … Many actors participated in the filming without claiming a fee, out of old friendship with Balabanov. The actress who played Svetlana recalled that she starred in home clothes, in which she came to audition. The gray knitted sweater, which we completely associate with Brother, was bought at the Flea Market for a penny. How did the creative team manage to make a real movie under such conditions?!?
The genius of Balabanov is in the special psychologism, in the amazing subtlety of the characters created by the director. But how to explain some “clumsy” image of Danila? Indeed, after watching, many critics accused the actor of being unable to revive the character of the protagonist.
There is an opinion that the simplicity of Danila is the simplicity of Sergei Bodrov, who, in general, did not play. He lived on the set, was himself. And this caused a special confidence in the viewer. But this, of course, is not all. The essence of the character of the protagonist lies in the very title of the film. He is Brother. Part of my family and part of the nation. It is no coincidence that the image of Danila is written out sparingly. It is like a white sheet on which only a few features are inscribed. If you look closely, Danila Bagrov is almost devoid of individuality and human egoism. It is simple, but iron solidity, integrity is hidden in this simplicity. He is extremely concentrated on a single goal – the service of the Supreme Justice. “Truth” as the protagonist calls it. “Whoever has the truth is stronger!” Hence the complete fearlessness of Danila, thanks to which later Russian bandits mistakenly recognize him as “their own”.
At the time of the murders, Danila Bagrov’s hand will not tremble. But the meaning of this absolute calmness and fearlessness is not in the absence of humanity, but in the full awareness of one’s own rightness. He sincerely believes that evil should be punished. That a brother cannot be a traitor. That people need each other even in a big city.
Another huge semantic layer in the film “Brother” is the theme of big cities and human disunity. Danila, like a restless person, is looking for his family, but does not find it. Just as he does not find love, affection, friendly affection among the characters he meets. In this huge city, where anyone who sets a goal can reach the heights, nobody needs anyone. And if trouble comes, then this is a personal problem for everyone.
The director most accurately conveyed in the film the transition from the mass socialist consciousness to the personal responsibility of everyone for what is happening to him. He showed on the screen what all the inhabitants of our vast country already understood, but did not want to fully recognize. The time has come when man is a wolf to man. The family ceased to be the rear, society split. For decades we looked across the ocean, looking for rights and freedoms for ourselves, and finally found what we were looking for. Loneliness.
That is why the image of Danila Bagrov is so attractive. He is a living person, ready to give his warmth, care and love to those who need them. But the whole tragedy of the film is that no one needs this love.
The unique atmosphere of autumn St. Petersburg, its gray streets, squares and dank rains, slush and the constant songs of Nautilus in headphones … Yes, this is a crime drama, but how much romanticism is in it. The film broke into quotes, made the audience fall in love with Russian rock, and made them believe that excellent films can be made in our country. We will always remember the creative tandem of Alexei Balabanov and Sergei Bodrov Jr., who left an indelible mark on the heart of an entire generation.
Write in the comments your meaning of the movie Brother. We look forward to waiting!