Fratricide

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UNDERCOVER BROTHER Celik, right, hears out his pimp older sib.
UNDERCOVER BROTHER Celik, right, hears out his pimp older sib.

Time Out says

Blending fluid handheld realism with undertones of myth, Fratricide unsentimentally explores the tension between tradition-bound tribalism and modern Western individualism. Teenage Azad (Celik) and even younger Ibo (Gectan), Kurdish immigrants living in Germany, become involved in a violent street incident with a Turkish gang led by a pair of brothers, triggering an old-school ethnic blood rivalry that has predictably tragic consequences. Its pervasive sense of menace letting up only for a half-baked detour into romance and a liberating blast of hand-drawn animation, Turkish-born director Yilmaz Arslan’s third film favors taut action over smug speechifying—a scene of Azad’s older brother, a pimp, slapping around one of his prostitutes is an effectively grisly distillation of the movie’s grim and grimy view of Germany’s immigrant lumpenproletariat.
Elsewhere, Arslan’s penchant for brutality yields mixed results: Fratricide really could have done without the anal-rape scene, but a memorable bit involving a bullet wound and a hungry pit bull is even further over-the-top—and pretty hilarious. Ultimately the movie is less disturbing for its casual violence than for a slowly building sense that the social problems on display may be insoluble. Mistrustful of politics without lapsing into cynicism, Fratricide exudes a bracingly contemporary sense of genuine uncertainty. (Now playing; Film Forum.) — Joshua Land

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