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BROTHERS AND SISTERS

UK, 1980 (MIFF 1981, New Directors)

Director: Richard Woolley

Brothers and Sisters is the latest and most ambitious production of the British Film Institute Production Board It marks the feature debut of Richard Woolley (born 1948) after a career in radical theatre and the production of a number of short films The film uses the conventions of a thriller, but its ostensible subject, the solution to the murder of a prostitute, is supplanted by an examination of sexual motivations and the class bases of sexism.

In closely examining the lives and lifestyles of the suspects, chiefly two brothers — one a middle-class intellectual with liberal principles, the other a professional soldier and right-winger — the plot becomes a springboard for a wider investigation into the relationships between men and women Both brothers betray their standards and the murder of the prostitute is used to highlight their own sexual hypocrisy This shift into the arena of sexual politics poses the murder mystery in quite different terms; all men are suspects and the clues lie in looking at and learning from how men treat women

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