Dirs: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe. UK. 2005. 90mins.
Keith Fulton and Louis Pepetake a small step from documentary to mockumentarywith Brothers Of The Head, a bizarreriff on the source novel by Brian Aldiss.
The story of conjoined twinbrothers and their brief rush of rock star fame during the 1970s is technically beyond reproach but is less satisfactory dramaticallyas it repeatedly covers the same ground without the necessary pay-off.
Film buffs may enjoyspotting the influence of Peter Greenaway or evenechoes of the seminal Performance,but broader audiences are unlikely to find much to engage them. That said, a USdeal is said to be in the offing for what is likely to be viewed as a leftfielditem and a potential festival favourite.
In the right place at theright time, Fulton and Pepe memorably chronicled TerryGilliam's abandoned attempt to film Don Quixote in their documentary
Here, they make a fictionalfeature, working from a screenplay by Tony Grisoniwho also wrote Gilliam's adaptation of Tideland.Using all the staples of the mockumentary genre, theytell the story of conjoined twins, Barry and Thomas Howe, played by real-life twinsLuke and Harry Treadaway.
Joined at the chest andsharing a liver, the pair have grown into teenagerswith quite distinctive personalities. Barry is the more mischievous, hot-headedof the two while Tom is more reserved and thoughtful.
Invited to become the focusof a band called The Bang Bang, their angry lyricsand unique appearance bring them a degree of attention as glam rockers poisedon the edge of punk.
Success brings the rewardsof drugs, booze and sex but also sows the seeds of self-destruction as the boysfinally seem to resent their inability to lead separate lives.
Witnesses are called upon tooffer their memories of the boys and their brief heyday during the 1970s,including Ken Russell who discusses an uncompleted film on their lives called
Old family photos, grittyfootage from the twins' concert performances and documentary material shot atthe time are also used to build a convincing sense of reality.
Quite why someone isinterested enough in the twins' story to interview all those who were close tothem during the 1970s - and revisit the documentary footage from the period -is never clearly explained.
We witness the sweaty,claustrophobic intimacy that exists between the brothers as they are forced todo everything together from bathing to strumming the guitar. We also sense howall this is challenged by the arrival of journalist Laura (Emery) and herattraction to Thomas.
There are even some momentsof poignancy as the fate of the boys becomes all too apparent.
But the central problemremains of fully engaging audiences with something that is presented neither asa fictional story nor as a documentary but as a fake documentary in whicheverything possible is done to make the phoney seem real.
Lisa Marie Russo
Simon Channing Williams
Anthony Dod Mantle