Hot Docs 2021: Our Review of ‘Faith and Branko’

Hot Docs 2021: Our Review of ‘Faith and Branko’

How do people fall in love in the year of our lord 2021? Well, first of all, Faith and Branko starts in 2009 and follows the life of the titular subjects for at least four years, so maybe those few years made it easy. And the documentary doesn’t have all the answers to that question although it seems to propose one theory. Love is as real as people feel it, but they’re also feeling their perception of love and that person and the community they belong to.

Branko, a Serbo-Romani violinist, wears a fedora because he thinks his wife Faith’s home country of Britain is a sophisticated one where men wear hats. He’s about to find out whether or not that’s true. He has strong ties with his community, especially with his aunt who raised him. But he and Faith are, at this time, about to leave for Britain to work there.

The documentary, then, follows both Faith and Branko as they split their time both in England and Serbia. They’re always interesting to watch, as their perceptions about each other wear down. But the Serbia scenes are more interesting just because it observes an interracial couple within the Romani community. Four years have only changed the couple internally, but it’s interesting to see the community having a closer eye than an outsider would. That community and its members make for equally interesting subjects, especially the aunt who gives Faith nooch. The body language between the two is also fascinating. At first, like most couples, they’re together while hanging out with the family. But as the film progresses, they pick and choose which family members each of them hang out with. The movie shows Faith making inroads with Branko’s mouthy grandma, which comes in handy when they have regular couple troubles.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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