Brother’s Keeper

Brother’s KeeperBBBB

(out of 5)


Landmark documentary that began the successful career of director Joe Berlinger. The Ward Brothers are four semi-literate dairy farmers in upstate New York who live in one small shack of a house, their squalid conditions frightening enough to make the women of Grey Gardens look like neat freaks by comparison. When William Ward dies, brother  is put on trial for murder after he admits that he killed his ailing sibling in order to put him out of his misery. The court trial that ensues is a baffling moral muddle, with the competency of the defendant in question, not to mention the nature of the crime, the vulnerability of the facts, and the residents of Munnsville who come in great droves to his defence. Despite the fact that these brothers live as virtual outsiders in their hamlet of a town, the citizens who have known (and basically ignored) them for decades will not allow any of their own to be judged no matter how bizarre the facts are that the trial reveals (and when themes of incest are introduced, I dare your blood not to go cold). It’s a fascinating experience, one that has not withered with time in the years since it was made.


USA, 1992

Directed by ,

Cinematography by ,

Produced by Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

Music by ,

Film Editing by Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky

Film Festivals:  Sundance 1992


Cast Tags:  , ,, , ,, , ,, , , , ,


New York Film Critics Award
Best Documentary

National Society of Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Documentary

National Board Of Review Award
Best Documentary

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary/Actuality (Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky)

Sundance Film Festival Award
Audience Award, Documentary

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Documentary


BrothersKeeper

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