Brother Born Again (2001) Poster

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Gentle metaphor for culture wars
Ron in LA11 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Autobiographical documentary directed by and starring Julia Pimsleur in which she films her reunion with her long lost brother, Marc. Julia is a bisexual New York Jewish film maker and Yale grad, and brother has dropped out of UC Berkley, become a born-again Christian, and moved for the past ten years to a commune of like-minded folk on an Alaska farm.

At the risk of a plot spoiler, there is sort of no punch line or expose to this reunion. Brother is about as loopy as any born-again Christian, and sister is a bit annoying in trying to bait her brother into a debate, but ultimately they both accept each other, and there is nothing to suggest any improper activity or compulsion at work on the commune. Where the film is interesting is as a positive role model for how real people at opposite ends of the current culture wars can hang together in peace.

Its hard to know how to rate a personal film with minimal production values that you watch on the web. Are we comparing it to Casablanca? Or to home movies on YouTube? I will say that it is interesting and worthwhile.
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Moving documentary about a family coming together
edwardmbrown13 June 2012
Paul Pimsleur (of the language method) died when his son Marc was 10 and his daughter Julia was 8. This documentary film is set at a time when Marc is 32 and Julia 30 and they have been separated for a decade-- separated both physically (he in Alaska, she in New York) and ideologically (he a born again Christian, she bisexual). What I found remarkable about this film was how what seems to be the power of their desire to knit their 'little family' back together allows them establish a caring relationship in spite of their differences. The film also showed how Marc's religious experience and membership in a religious community helped him overcome what he acknowledged were serious psychological difficulties, without depriving him of the ability to respond warmly to his family. Although he might be characterized as ideologically rigid, it was moving to see that he was not a robot. The emotional depth (not to mention the beautiful scenes in Alaska) of this film make it well worth watching.
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