Oh brother! The sibling duos who dominate film

Directors Joel Coen (left) and Ethan Coen pose for a photo in Los Angeles November 15, 2013. — Reuters pic
Directors Joel Coen (left) and Ethan Coen pose for a photo in Los Angeles November 15, 2013. — Reuters pic

CANNES, May 16 — From the Warner and Lumiere brothers to the Boultings, cinema has been marked from its earliest days by remarkable sibling double acts.

The Safdie brothers — Ben and Josh — are the latest directing duo to hit the headlines, the big surprise of this year’s Cannes film festival, which opens on Wednesday.

The New Yorkers, whose new grindhouse movie Good Time was described by its star Robert Pattinson as a “mentally damaged psychopath bank robbery movie”, are the most eye-catching newcomers in the running for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.

They join a long list of brothers from the kings of low-brow comedy, the Farrellys, to the Coens who have worked together behind the camera.

The Coens

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen are members of the elite club of filmmakers who have won best film Oscars and the Palme d’Or. Their genre-spanning and wryly comic movies like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona and O Brother, Where Art Thou? have won them a huge crossover audience that combines arthouse cred with genuine crowd pleasers.

The Wachowskis

The brothers behind The Matrix franchise are now in fact sisters having both come out as trans women. Larry became Lana in 2010 and Andy Lilly two years ago, in one of the most high-profile coming outs in Hollywood. The sisters have continued to work together, mostly notably on Jupiter Ascending and the television series Sense8

The Farrellys

Peter and Bobby Farrelly cut their teeth as writers on Seinfeld before becoming the undisputed kings of American cringe comedy with such gross-out hits as Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal and There’s Something About Mary. Peter Farrelly, the elder by two years, once joked that they “look up” to their stupid characters. “They are better than us,” he said.

The Afflecks

Even when brothers work hand in glove there is always room for sibling rivalry. Take the Afflecks, Ben and Casey, who have a healthy Oscar rivalry as actors, directors and producers. Ben currently has two, while Casey won his first last year for Manchester by the Sea, although he was previously nominated for The Assassination of Jess James by the Coward Robert Ford.

The Dardennes

The Belgian brothers — who have twice won the Palme d’Or with their gritty dramas Rosetta (1999) and L’Enfant (2005) — are often mistakenly taken as twins because they look so similar, although Jean-Pierre is actually three years older than Luc. To further confuse things, their producer Denis Freyd is known as “the third brother”. 

The Pangs

The Hong-Kong-based duo Danny and Oxide Pang are best known for their seminal horror film The Eye, which not only spawned a Hollywood remake of the same name but a Bollywood one too. The brothers began their career in Thailand with Bangkok Dangerous and still make films there from time to time, with Oxide marrying The Eye star Angelica Lee. 

The Russos

Like the Farrellys, Anthony and Joe Russo began in television as writers on the cult comedyArrested Development. But they moved into the Hollywood big league with their superhero films adapted from the Marvel Comics character Captain America. They hope to repeat the trick with Marvel’s Avengers superhero characters next year. — AFP

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