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My Brother's Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot

Philip Gröning
Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot
Germany, France, Switzerland 2018 / 174’
Lean on Pete The Interpreter

We the first sounds of a tune by The Residents, you just know this isn't going to be easy viewing, and the nearly three-hour film by Philip Gröning does indeed turn out to be a real challenge. And it's not just because of the length and the cold, precise way the director of Into Great Silence and The Policeman's Wife tells the story. The most difficult thing for viewers to swallow in this case is the solid dose of cruelty that film serves up. Everything starts out innocently enough: twins named Elena and Robert spend several lazy summer days in the fields near a gas station and in the nearby woods, preparing for an exam in philosophy. They drink beer and discuss the concept of time in works by Heidegger and Novalis, but they also make a bet that they have 48 hours to settle. From then on, the previously pastoral film turns into more of a horror. My Brother's Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot combines a neo-modernist reflection on survival with a lot of symbolism and even more violence.

Adam Kruk

Philip Gröning

Born in 1959, Philip Gröning is a German director, screenwriter and producer, as well as an editor and cinematographer, and occasionally an actor. He makes both features and documentaries. He gained fame early is his career with his 1992 film Die Terroristen! (also because of Helmut Kohl's attempt to prevent distribution of the film), for which he received a Bronze Leopard in Locarno. In 2005, he made the award-winning (European Film Award, among others) Into Great Silence and eight years later The Policeman's Wife, which was shown in Venice.


1988 Lato / Sommer / Summer

1992 Terrorysta / Die Terroristen! / The Terrorists!

2000 L'Amour, l'argent, l'amour

2005 Wielka cisza / Die große Stille / Into Great Silence

2013 Żona policjanta / Die Frau des Polizisten / The Police Officer's Wife

2018 Mój brat ma na imię Robert i jest idiotą / Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot / My Brother's Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot

Cast & Crew

director Philip Gröning
screenplay Philip Gröning, Sabine Timoteo
cinematography Philip Gröning
editing Hannes Bruun, Philip Gröning
cast Josef Mattes, Julia Zange, Urs Jucker, Stefan Konarske, Zita Aretz, Karolina Porcari
producer Philip Gröning, Philipp Kreuzer
production Philip-Gröning-Filmproduktion, L Films, Bavaria Pictures
sales Match Factory
language German
colouration colour