Later this month Chloé Zhao’s critically acclaimed Nomandland will finally get it’s UK release. Before the critical success and awards there was Songs My Brothers Taught Me, the filmmaker’s directorial feature debut. This coming Friday 9th April you can see that film in it’s full glory exclusively on MUBI, today we get a look at the official Trailer.
Written and directed by Zhao, the film is a touching and tragic coming-of-age story set against the stark beauty of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. Describing the film as a contemplation of the time she spent on the Pine Ridge Reservation, during the four years of making the film.
Premiering at Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim, before heading to the Cannes Film Festival where Chloé Zhao received a nomination for the Caméra d’Or Award for Best First Feature Film.
The film focuses on teenage Johnny and his younger sister Jashaun, two Lakota Sioux siblings whose bond is tested after the sudden death of their absent cowboy father. With an older brother in jail and living with their distant single mother, the pair spend their days navigating the harsh terrain of their small town where opportunity is scarce and poverty, alcoholism and violence is rife. When the chance of a new life in Los Angeles arises, Johnny is faced with the difficult choice of leaving Jashaun behind forever.
Juxtaposing the despair her characters face with a breathtakingly lyrical aesthetic that recalls the work of Terrence Malick, Zhao’s first film is a wistful and delicately observed portrayal of a marginalised community that subtly captures the everyday lives of an underrepresented social milieu. As empathetic as it is naturalistic, it marks the auspicious introduction of a distinctive and undeniable cinematic voice.
Starring John Reddy and Jashaun St. John.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me will exclusively be shown on MUBI from Friday 9th April.