My Brother's Wedding


1h 21m 1983

Brief Synopsis

Estranged brothers reconcile when one agrees to be the other's best man.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
1983
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (Zdf)
Distribution Company
Milestone Film & Video; Blue Dolphin Film Distributors

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m

Synopsis

A man must decide between attending his brother's wedding or attending the funeral of an ex-con friend he vowed to look after.

Cast

Everett Silas

Pierce Monday

Jessie Holmes

Mrs Monday

Gaye Shannon-burnett

Sonia Debois

Ronald E Bell

Soldier Richards

Dennis Kemper

Mr Wendell Monday

Sy Richardson

Mr Debois

Frances Nealy

Mrs Debois

Sally Easter

Mrs Richards

Hobert Durham Jr.

Mr Richards

Angela Burnett

Angela

Tim Wright

Big Daddy

Cora Lee Day

Big Mama

Monte Easter

Wendell Mundy

Garnett Hargrave

Walter

Margarita Rodriguez

Maria

Jackie Hargrave

Hattie

Linda Gypsy Lewis

Judith--3rd Pregnant Woman

Denise Elliot

Cheryl--Woman In Accident

Ross Harris

Mr Bitterfield

Julie Bolton

Rape Victim

Charles Bracy

Walker

Stacey Evans

Jean

Nate Hardman

Babe Brother

Debbie Williams

Babe Brother Wife

Henry G Sanders

Beat-Up Man

Helena Springs

Angry Woman In Car

Lucious Walker

Jack Ace

Taglito Atpay

Mr Cook

Edwin Prevost

Mr Shaw

S'jon C L Blackwell

Sleeping Boy

Larry White

2nd Robber

Kal Isaacs

3rd Robber

Kalita Bradley

Woman Robber

Herman Graham

Funeral Director

Demean Hall

Sister

Mickie Washington

Sister'S Daughter

Gene Cherry

Gene

Dian Cherry

Dian

Charles Anderson

James

Jerry White

Millie

Tamiko Hairston

Shirley

Boston Farley Jr.

Bob

John R Lampkin

Liquor Clerk

James Washington Jett

Mr Jett

Robert T Wester

Elmo

Tashia Cherry

Angela'S Friend

Allahn Diva Wright

1st Baby

Rashawn Robinson

Baby In Car

Tina Jolly

Church Woman

Thomas M Penick

Dead Body

Rosalind Burroughs Cluster

Sheila

Clifton Johnson

1st Policeman

Victor Hargrave

2nd Policeman

Rita Williams Bell

Injured Mother

Terrence Alen

Terrence

Tony Brown

Walter'S Friend

Brilla Cherry

Angela'S 2nd Friend

Suzette Ry

Barbara

Lionell Hardy

Drunk

Ronald E. Hairston

Man On Bus

Brenda Mcgrew

Baptised Girl

John Mcgrew

Pastor'S Aide

Glenn Standifer

1st Pastor

Charles Drake

2nd Pastor

Marvin Elkins

1st Viewer

Archie Hamilton

2nd Viewer

Frederick W Penick

3rd Viewer

Marian A Penick

4th Viewer

Dian Yvonne Laster

5th Viewer

Idrece Elliot

Sister'S Baby

Douglas H Penick

Pall Bearer

John Ellis

Pall Bearer

Thomas F Stone

Pall Bearer

Benjamin Williams

Pall Bearer

Inez Drake

Woman In Church

Adrian Williams

Woman In Church

Thedesa Christopher

Woman In Church

Roman Bate

Floor Man

Kimberly Lowe

1st Pregnant Woman

Regina Hamilton

2nd Pregnant Woman

Myrtle S Penick

Wedding Member

Marjorie Carpenter

Wedding Member

Tracy Carpenter

Wedding Member

Cozette Perrin

Wedding Member

Ki'yo Carter

Wedding Member

Maria Crawford

Wedding Member

Ruth E Cassius

Wedding Member

Yzella Cassius

Wedding Member

Edward Warmsley

Wedding Member

Byron Warmsley

Wedding Member

Valon Lyles

Wedding Member

April Caldwell

Bridesmaid

Tiffany Pinder

Bridesmaid

Shaune Arnold

Bride'S Stand-In

Fred Kaiser

Caretaker

Grover Johnson

Chauffuer

Dione Bacon

1st Boy

James Bacon

2nd Boy

Jackson Lawrence

1st Ambulance Driver

Tom Pruitt

2nd Ambulance Driver

Stephanie Elliot

Ambulance Attendant

Michael Roby

Ambulance Attendant

Lew Brown

Gun Man

Dr. Henry Gordon

Singer And Harmonica Player

Mark Smith

Singer--

Tony Brown

Henry Sanders

Crew

Johnny Ace

Song Performer ("Never Let Me Go" "Anymore")

Johnny Ace

Songs

Clarence Armstrong

Song Performer (Hymns)

Dorothy Armstrong

Song Performer (Hymns)

Penny Barrett

Set Decorator

Charles Burnett

Director Of Photography

Charles Burnett

Producer

Charles Burnett

Screenwriter

Veda Campbell

Sound Recording

Stanley Carr

Sound Transfer

L C Carter

Song Performer ("Take Me To The Water")

Ruth E Cassius

Production Coordinator

Barry Cooper

Song Performer (Hymns)

Larry Cooper

Song Performer (Hymns)

Lewis Countee

Sound Transfer

Julie Dash

Assistant Director

Danielle E Edwards

Song Performer (Hymns)

Omar Elaidi

Camera Assistant

Camelia Frieberg

Assistant Director

Lisa M Garrett

Song Performer (Hymns)

Henry Gordon

Harmonica Player

Henry Gordon

Song Performer ("Old Rugged Cross")

Ronald E. Hairston

Assistant Director

Barbara A Hale

Song Performer (Hymns)

Garnett Hargrave

Stunt Coordinator

Garnett Hargrave

Line Producer

Sean R Jackson

Song Performer (Hymns)

Arthur Jafa

Camera Assistant

Clifton Johnson

Makeup

Brigitte Kramer

Associate Producer

Kimberly E Lawrence

Song Performer (Hymns)

Arthur J Lopez

Sound Recording

Edward M Osbourne

Sound Effects Supervisor

Christine Renee Penick

Associate Editor

Thomas Penick

Editor

Thomas M Penick

Production Manager

Evamarie Presley

Song Performer (Hymns)

Paul Quan

Music

Mark Rozett

Sound Rerecording

Gaye Shannon-burnett

Executive Producer

Gaye Shannon-burnett

Wardrobe Supervisor

Lynn Smith

Camera Assistant

Mark Smith

Song Performer ("Funeral Song")

Sandra Y Stokes

Song Performer (Hymns)

Jaquetta M Vaughn

Song Performer (Hymns)

Earl C Williman

Supervising Producer

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Release Date
1983
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (Zdf)
Distribution Company
Milestone Film & Video; Blue Dolphin Film Distributors

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m

Articles

My Brother's Wedding


Charles Burnett made an auspicious feature debut in 1977 with Killer of Sheep, a powerful, poetic portrait of life in the Los Angeles ghetto Watts which he made as his thesis film for the filmmaking program at UCLA. The B&W feature gained international recognition at the 1981 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Critics' Prize, and was chosen as a "national treasure" and put on the National Film Registry in 1990. It's a landmark of African American filmmaking and American independent cinema, yet it never received a theatrical release until 2007, due to the expense of clearing the music rights for the rich soundtrack of classic and contemporary songs.

Burnett's follow-up film, My Brother's Wedding was to suffer much the same public fate, though for different reasons. Commissioned by the German TV network Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen after it saw Killer of Sheep in Berlin and financed with help from a Guggenheim fellowship and funding from Channel 4 in England, Burnett wrote the original screenplay and began shooting the film in 1983, on location in the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood where he grew up.

Pierce Mundy (Everett Silas) works the counter of his parents' dry cleaning business. He's not necessarily the black sheep of the Mundy family, but he has few prospects and far less ambition than his upwardly mobile brother Wendell (Dennis Kemper), a lawyer about to marry into a wealthy professional family. Pierce bristles at his mother's deference to Wendell's fiancée Sonia (Gaye Shannon-Burnett) and has nothing but disdain for her snooty, socially pretentious family. Meanwhile he falls back into juvenile shenanigans with his boyhood buddy Soldier (Ronnie Bell), an ex-con who promises his mother to go straight but spends his days womanizing and killing time while Pierce enables his worst instincts.

Everett Silas anchors the film with his focused performance as the unfocused Pierce, but off-screen his behavior delayed the low-budget production, first when he essentially went on strike to demand a larger salary, and then when he dropped out of sight altogether (he turned up a few months later in New Orleans where he had become a preacher). The production dragged on for a year and Burnett was already late when he submitted his nearly two-hour rough cut to the German studio, which proceeded to show the unfinished cut in the New Directors/New Films festival in New York. Due to tepid reviews, My Brother's Wedding was never picked up for distribution and it languished for almost 25 years ("a catastrophic blow to the development of American culture," according to film critic Armond White) until Milestone (the studio that finally cleared the song rights for Killer of Sheep and distributed it to great acclaim in 2007) acquired the rights and enabled Burnett to finally finish editing the film. Trimmed by more than half an hour, the 82-minute "Director's Cut" was released in 2007.

Burnett described the film as a "tragic comedy" of a young man who "is not that emotionally mature. Philosophically, he looks at life in terms of the haves and have nots... He romanticizes the poor for the wrong reasons, and he hates the middle class for the wrong reasons. He sees things in black and white." Burnett's portrait of Pierce's world, however, is anything but black and white. He paints a world of complex family dynamics and social relations: dominant mothers, passive fathers, unwed pregnant young women and unfocused and irresponsible men. Crime and violence is part of the fabric of life (Burnett doesn't show it onscreen, but the echoes are felt in numerous scenes) and citizens and shop-owners keep guns for self-defense, yet neighbors are often treated like extended family. Pierce spends hours caring for aging neighborhood elders, taking responsibility for everyone but himself.

Like Killer of Sheep, the cast is largely nonprofessional and he uses them to capture the rhythm and color of the neighborhood. In other scenes, however, Burnett eschews that naturalism for a more satirical approach, caricaturing the bourgeois middle-class figures by exaggerating their affectations and pompous behavior. "They were the other extreme, with no soul, no morals or wisdom," Burnett explained in a 1988 interview. My Brother's Wedding, I think, was more moralistic than Killer of Sheep. It was more didactic." At the heart of the film, however, is a clear-eyed look at details and rhythms of everyday life in a culture too often seen on the screen only in crime thrillers and "blaxpoitation" films. "If a better film has been made about black life in the ghetto," writes Chicago Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, "I haven't seen it."

Producers: Charles Burnett and Gaye-Shannon Burnett
Director: Charles Burnett
Screenplay: Charles Burnett
Cinematography: Charles Burnett
Film Editing: Thomas Penick
Cast: Pierce Mundy (Everett Silas), Mrs. Mundy (Jessie Holmes), Sonia (Gaye Shannon-Burnett), Soldier Richards (Ronnie Bell), Wendell Mundy (Dennis Kemper), Sally Easter, Angela (Angela Burnett), Walker (Charles Bracy), Sonia's mother (Frances E. Nealy), Sonia's father (Sy Richardson).
C-82m.

by Sean Axmaker
My Brother's Wedding

My Brother's Wedding

Charles Burnett made an auspicious feature debut in 1977 with Killer of Sheep, a powerful, poetic portrait of life in the Los Angeles ghetto Watts which he made as his thesis film for the filmmaking program at UCLA. The B&W feature gained international recognition at the 1981 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Critics' Prize, and was chosen as a "national treasure" and put on the National Film Registry in 1990. It's a landmark of African American filmmaking and American independent cinema, yet it never received a theatrical release until 2007, due to the expense of clearing the music rights for the rich soundtrack of classic and contemporary songs. Burnett's follow-up film, My Brother's Wedding was to suffer much the same public fate, though for different reasons. Commissioned by the German TV network Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen after it saw Killer of Sheep in Berlin and financed with help from a Guggenheim fellowship and funding from Channel 4 in England, Burnett wrote the original screenplay and began shooting the film in 1983, on location in the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood where he grew up. Pierce Mundy (Everett Silas) works the counter of his parents' dry cleaning business. He's not necessarily the black sheep of the Mundy family, but he has few prospects and far less ambition than his upwardly mobile brother Wendell (Dennis Kemper), a lawyer about to marry into a wealthy professional family. Pierce bristles at his mother's deference to Wendell's fiancée Sonia (Gaye Shannon-Burnett) and has nothing but disdain for her snooty, socially pretentious family. Meanwhile he falls back into juvenile shenanigans with his boyhood buddy Soldier (Ronnie Bell), an ex-con who promises his mother to go straight but spends his days womanizing and killing time while Pierce enables his worst instincts. Everett Silas anchors the film with his focused performance as the unfocused Pierce, but off-screen his behavior delayed the low-budget production, first when he essentially went on strike to demand a larger salary, and then when he dropped out of sight altogether (he turned up a few months later in New Orleans where he had become a preacher). The production dragged on for a year and Burnett was already late when he submitted his nearly two-hour rough cut to the German studio, which proceeded to show the unfinished cut in the New Directors/New Films festival in New York. Due to tepid reviews, My Brother's Wedding was never picked up for distribution and it languished for almost 25 years ("a catastrophic blow to the development of American culture," according to film critic Armond White) until Milestone (the studio that finally cleared the song rights for Killer of Sheep and distributed it to great acclaim in 2007) acquired the rights and enabled Burnett to finally finish editing the film. Trimmed by more than half an hour, the 82-minute "Director's Cut" was released in 2007. Burnett described the film as a "tragic comedy" of a young man who "is not that emotionally mature. Philosophically, he looks at life in terms of the haves and have nots... He romanticizes the poor for the wrong reasons, and he hates the middle class for the wrong reasons. He sees things in black and white." Burnett's portrait of Pierce's world, however, is anything but black and white. He paints a world of complex family dynamics and social relations: dominant mothers, passive fathers, unwed pregnant young women and unfocused and irresponsible men. Crime and violence is part of the fabric of life (Burnett doesn't show it onscreen, but the echoes are felt in numerous scenes) and citizens and shop-owners keep guns for self-defense, yet neighbors are often treated like extended family. Pierce spends hours caring for aging neighborhood elders, taking responsibility for everyone but himself. Like Killer of Sheep, the cast is largely nonprofessional and he uses them to capture the rhythm and color of the neighborhood. In other scenes, however, Burnett eschews that naturalism for a more satirical approach, caricaturing the bourgeois middle-class figures by exaggerating their affectations and pompous behavior. "They were the other extreme, with no soul, no morals or wisdom," Burnett explained in a 1988 interview. My Brother's Wedding, I think, was more moralistic than Killer of Sheep. It was more didactic." At the heart of the film, however, is a clear-eyed look at details and rhythms of everyday life in a culture too often seen on the screen only in crime thrillers and "blaxpoitation" films. "If a better film has been made about black life in the ghetto," writes Chicago Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, "I haven't seen it." Producers: Charles Burnett and Gaye-Shannon Burnett Director: Charles Burnett Screenplay: Charles Burnett Cinematography: Charles Burnett Film Editing: Thomas Penick Cast: Pierce Mundy (Everett Silas), Mrs. Mundy (Jessie Holmes), Sonia (Gaye Shannon-Burnett), Soldier Richards (Ronnie Bell), Wendell Mundy (Dennis Kemper), Sally Easter, Angela (Angela Burnett), Walker (Charles Bracy), Sonia's mother (Frances E. Nealy), Sonia's father (Sy Richardson). C-82m. by Sean Axmaker

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1997

Released in United States February 2008

Released in United States July 1984

Released in United States May 1991

Released in United States October 2007

Released in United States Spring April 26, 1991

Re-released in United States September 14, 2007

Shown at Berlin International Film Festival (Forum - Special Screenings) February 7-17, 2008.

Shown at Cannes Film Festival (market) May 9-20, 1991.

Shown at Chicago International Film Festival (Black Perspectives, Special Presentation) October 4-17, 2007.

Restored print re-released in New York City September 14, 2007.

Shot in 1983.

Released in United States 1997 (Shown in New York City (Walter Reade Theater) as part of program "The Films of Charles Burnett: Witnessing for Everyday Heroes" January 31 - February 13, 1997.)

Released in United States February 2008 (Shown at Berlin International Film Festival (Forum - Special Screenings) February 7-17, 2008.)

Released in United States Spring April 26, 1991

Released in United States May 1991 (Shown at Cannes Film Festival (market) May 9-20, 1991.)

Released in United States July 1984 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (American Independents) July 5-20, 1984.)

Re-released in United States September 14, 2007 (New York City)

Released in United States October 2007 (Shown at Chicago International Film Festival (Black Perspectives, Special Presentation) October 4-17, 2007.)