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BLACK BROTHERS, THE (SCHWARZEN BRÜDER, DIE)

BLACK BROTHERS, THE
photo © enigma film/Martin Valentin Menke

Switzerland, 19th century. In a remote mountain village, Giorgio, 14, leads a harsh but happy life –until the day his mother has a serious accident. The only way his father can pay the doctor is ... by selling Giorgio. 40 francs is what Giorgio’s father gets from the “Man with the Scar,” who resells the boys he buys in Switzerland to prosperous chimney-sweep agents in Milan. There, Giorgio and his friend Alfredo become “spazzacamini,” forced to work in narrow, soot-filled chimneys. For the boys, it’s an exciting adventure: the big city, the secret crypt beneath a church, the pretty, but gravely ill Angeletta, the master’s daughter... Giorgio is in luck, for he is treated well by his master Battista, even though Battista’s wife and son enjoy tormenting him. But Alfredo is driven to his physical limits. To ward off attacks by street gangs like the “Wolves,” Alfredo founds the “Black Brothers” gang and makes Giorgio their first blood brother. Enjoying the support of his new friends, Giorgio devises a clever scheme to put the Wolves in their places. Then Alfredo dies of lung poisoning. Surprisingly, the Wolves accept Giorgio’s proposal to band together with the Black Brothers and make the Man with the Scar pay for selling the boys into captivity... It is the beginning of a new, daring – and dangerous – adventure.


Xavier Koller is a member of the Executive Board of the Foreign Language Film Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, LA. His work Gripsholm was honoured with the Prix C.I.C.A.E. (Confederation des Cinémas d'Arts et d'Essai Européan) and represented Switzerland to compete in the Academy Awards. Journey of Hope received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991, and the Bronze Leopard at the Film Festival Locarno. Tanner - The Rebellion was granted the National Award of the Ministry of Culture, the FIPRESCI Award at the Montreal Film Festival, and represented Switzerland at the Academy Awards in 1986. The Frozen Heart won the National Award of the Ministry of Culture, Movie of the Year, and was the biggest grossing Swiss film of 1980.
Genre Family Entertainment
Category Feature
Year of Production 2013
Director Xavier Koller
Screenplay Fritjof Hohagen, Klaus Richter
Cinematography Felix von Muralt
Cast Moritz Bleibtreu, Richy Müller, Dominique Horwitz, Waldemar Kobus, Fynn Henkel
Producers Fritjof Hohagen, Clarens Grollmann
Co-Producers Rainer Kölmel, Wasiliki Bleser, Karin Koch, Wolfgang Herold
Production Company enigma film/Munich, in co-production with Starhaus Filmproduktion/Munich, Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion/Zurich, Herold Productions/Frankfurt, Odeon Pictures/Geiselgasteig
Length 100 min
Format DCP, color, cs
Dubbed Versions Italian
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Zurich 2013, Festival do Rio 2013, Festroia 2014, Shanghai 2014, Molodist Kiev 2014
Awards Best Film: Molodist for Kids 2014
With backing from Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, German Federal Film Board, FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, MFG Baden-Württemberg, BKM, IDM Südtirol – Alto Adige, HessenInvestFilm, Bundesamt für Kultur, Zürcher Filmstiftung
German Distributor Studio Canal/Berlin

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