A Brother

Director: Sylvie Verheyde
Screenwriters: Sylvie Verheyde

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


A Brother is the troubled but transcendent story of a brother and sister—Loïc in his early twenties, and Sophie in her late teens—as they struggle to find identify and meaning in life. Sharing a small apartment with their never-present mother in a lower-middle-class suburb of Paris, Loïc plays the roles of absent father, adored older brother, and sometimes jealous lover, while Sophie moves, at first tentatively, then decisively, from innocence to womanhood. As Sophie’s life acquires definition, Loïc faces choices and commitments. Although his work as a photographer has taken him far from his dingy, depressing surroundings to a glittering world of high fashion, he fears the success that it is about to bring. Torn between the possibilities of the future and the ties of the past, his life loses coherence as he alternately seeks and rejects career and friends, moving from one to the other like a powerful caged animal desperate to find an exit. Constant in this turmoil is his relationship with Sophie, but when she deliberately chooses romance with her brother’s older friend Vincent, their smoldering conflict erupts with explosive fury.

Rendered in a dark-toned, staccato cinematography, director Sylvie Verheyde’s first feature film is a study in contrasts and a skillful weaving of plots and subplots. It features a powerful portrayal of the troubled Loïc by Jeannick Gravelinnes and a remarkable performance by the beautiful and spunky Emma De Caunes as Sophie. A Brother is an exceptional debut by a filmmaker from whom we will hear more.

Sylvie Verheyde, Director
Born in France in 1964, Sylvie Verheyde made two short features and a music clip while she was studying geography, drawing, and music in Paris. A Brother is the first film she has written and directed. It was screened at Cannes in 1997.

— Nicole Guillemet

Screening Details

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