Brothers & Sisters!

Istvan Kantor

1999, 16:24 minutes, colour/B&W, English


It sounds like the opening of a classic rap-rant, a stirring speech or a sermon. Brothers & Sisters! sounds like a call for the viewer's attention. It's a strategy typical of Kantor. How else might he begin a committed treatment of race, social injustice and the alienation of the individual in hypertechnological society. Kantor's constantly mutating manifesto draws equally freely on a speech by Malcolm X or poems by Louise Bak and media coverage of the Kosovo atrocities. Graphically animated and manipulated textual quotations flow over layered images and underline spoken words. Against this verbal and textual background Kantor sets in motion a nonlinear collage which juxtaposes personal visual material from the Kantor family archive with recent pictures from Kosovo. The whole forms the audio visual setting of the staging of tense family scenes. Kantor's street credibility' is here confirmed above all by the unsparing manner in which he breaks open the privacy and intimacy of the family domain in order to merge it completely with the sociopolitical. In the era of global technology the two spheres are becoming more and more interwoven. Who are your Brothers & Sisters? Is this determined by your family, your beliefs, your nationality or your race? And what is the other side of the new alliances that have come into being? Former neighbours are after each other's blood in Kosovo. However difficult and serious it might appear, Brothers and Sisters has its playful and poetic sides. In the past Kantor has often appeared as poet/performer with Louise Back. In her collection 'Ginko's Kitchen' Bak addresses the reader in an alternately confrontational and seductive manner on the subject of his racial, cultural and sexual prejudices. Kantor deploys a similar tactic of attraction and repulsion, of entertainment and irritation. Seen in this light, his opening Brothers & Sisters! is just as much a friendly arm round your shoulder as a kick in your crotch.

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