MY BROTHER'S NAME IS ROBERT AND HE IS AN IDIOT: PRESS
"My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an Idiot" is perhaps the most memorable experiment in German cinema in recent years, overbearing, outrageous and obscene. The film is a brutal outdoor chamber play, a grand metaphor about civilization. It begins in paradise and ends in hell."
Zeit (DE), 11/2018
"Gröning offers the kind of challenge that most contemporary film-makers wouldn't even attempt."
Screen Daily (UK), 02/2018
"My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an Idiot" is a masterpiece. A film that understands cinema as a space of unconditional experience and is itself a single experience, dedicated to the radicality of philosophy and telling what is probably the most harrowing coming-of-age story in recent years."
Moviebreak (DE), 11/2018
"It starts as a German answer to Terrence Malick, as two teenage siblings mooch around in fields musing on philosophy and time, then takes a brutal turn, like Michael Haneke’s Funny Games slowed to a crawl and laced with quotes from Heidegger. It’s beautifully, brilliantly executed, and largely mystifying."
The Guardian (UK), 02/2018
"My brother's name is Robert and he is an idiot" is not only smart and beautiful, this is a wonderful high voltage magic fairy tale about wild passions and last things. Without question one of the very best German films of recent years. And above it all is the sun of summer. "Only the sun was to blame," Camus says."
SWR 2 (DE), 11/2018
"Philip Gröning, the master of the silent narrative, has transferred this coming-of-age story, into sublime, magnificently composed film images. A disturbing outdoor chamber play condensed to a pair of twins, about love, dependence, violence and the expulsion from paradise."
3sat Kulturzeit (DE), 11/2018
"Childish fun turns into cruel seriousness. A film that pushes the limits of pain. Intellectual, sensual and disturbing."
ARD Kinokino (DE), 11/2018
"In his new film, Philip Gröning tells of the fascination and powerlessness of philosophy. And about a pair of teenage twins - amazingly credibly embodied by Josef Mattes and Julia Zange, who become radicalized in a surreal way. Natural Born Thinkers. Now the monstrous masterpiece is coming to theaters."
Monopol (DE), 11/2018
"Discipline and outburst clash, heaven and hell meet. It is not the kind of contradictions that can be enjoyed as harmonious counterpoint, but a painful cinema that thrives on dissonance like orchestral tuning. (...) Cinema is learning from the visual arts here, and that is its great opportunity at a time of radical upheaval in the medium."
Frankfurter Rundschau (DE), 11/2018
"A film that you can inhabit, that beguiles and torments and afterwards doesn't let go."
Abendzeitung München (DE), 11/2018
"Strong cinema - and an obstinate, radical phenomenology of time."
Philosophie Magazine (DE), 11/2018
"Thinking is dangerous: Philip Gröning's Berlinale film "Mein Bruder Robert" tells the disturbing story of a pair of twins studying for their Abi. In the end, taboos no longer apply."
Die Welt (DE), 02/2018
"Long after the Nouvelle Vague, how can one once again look at the world from its mind? The answer: with Heidegger's ontology and a pinch of Augustine in your head. And, of course, a gun."
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE), 02/2018
"Suggestive camera, body cinema: Philip Gröning's "My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an Idiot" gathers the most radical images so far in the German competition films, scenes of a hyperreality that fits Heidegger and puberty, the end of childhood."
Der Tagesspiegel (DE), 02/2018
"The most controversial and at the same time most beautiful film of the Berlinale."
Die Welt (DE), 02/2018
"A bet, a coincidence and the situation escalates. The film goes to the limit of pain. An intellectual, sensual and disturbing experience."
"The existence of future time, says Heidegger, enables man to decide things. Only this gives us freedom. Animals cannot decide consciously. They know nothing of a future. They always live in the present. Elena and Robert already live only in the present at the beginning and deliver themselves more and more to the moment in the course of the film - until they lose all control of what they will do next. [...]
In Gröning's work, the cinema becomes a disturbing experiential space."
Die Zeit (DE), 02/2018
"My brother's name is Robert and he is an idiot" cleverly pretends to be a philosophical treatise on the screen. However, it is worth taking a closer look and understanding that it is rather a deconstruction of the myth of the great German philosophy. In Gröning's work, it becomes a collection of incredibly beautiful and internally contradictory idealistic maxims. A "dwelling in the world of wise thoughts" in which there is more poetry than sense. And poetry is a thing no less dangerous than youth. It is logical that Heidegger's ideas force Robert and Elena to take up arms."
Meduza (RU), 02/2018
"Philip Gröning's "My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an Idiot" is an experience - and the most disturbing entry in the competition so far."
rbb (DE), 02/2018
"Discipline and outburst clash, heaven and hell meet. It's not the kind of contradiction that can be enjoyed as harmonious counterpoint, but painful cinema and a thoroughly salutary shock."
Frankfurter Rundschau (DE), 02/2018
"Whoever gets involved with "My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an Idiot" will experience intense, incomparable hours of cinema. (...)
The viewer can be aesthetically overwhelmed. He can watch a blood-red genre film. He can start thinking about time - about the succession of moments and images, about the past, the future and the present, which we cannot grasp. When you do that, you are very close to the essence of cinema, which is nothing but a succession of images that do not stand still and yet make a whole."
"My brother's name is Robert" is an extraordinary work, a reflection on time nourished by the philosophy of Augustin and Heidegger, whose concepts are here placed in the mouths of two teenagers. [...] While the philosophers cited by Robert teach us that only the past and the future exist, that the present is only an illusion, the film constantly runs counter to this idea. Through its attempt, over time, to freeze on the screen the feeling of carelessness of those long summer days that never seem to end...
For these twins, incapable of capturing that pure moment of happiness of childhood, when one is still unaware of the passing of time, and refusing the passage to adulthood, the pressure is growing stronger and stronger and the violence is constantly coming to the surface?
"My Brother's Name is Robert" is a difficult but brilliant film, whose content and form are one and the same. For what is cinema but a desperate attempt to freeze the present in a succession of 24 snapshots per second?"
La Libre Belgique (BE), 02/2018
"The film is not entertainment, but experience. What it stimulates is an examination of the existential question of the meaning of being and what role time plays in this."
Cult-Zeitung (DE), 02/2018
"At the end, when Elena takes up the themes evoked at the beginning, they acquire a very different meaning for the spectator. Besides being disconcerting, original and unexpected, My Brother's Name is Robert and He is an Idiot is capable of demonstrating detachment about its own images, modifying and reconfiguring itself throughout a single narrative that, however shocking, remains linear and chronological. It is like condensing the idea, the practice and the debate into a single project."
AdoroCinema (FR), 02/2018
In Gröning's film, the "idiot" Robert explains the philosophical thought processes that lead to the shift of time and ontology into the processes of perception and cognition. His sister Elena takes him at his word. The real gun she just shot someone with is not real at all, she says. As long as the two of them perceive it that way, it works, even though they are destroying the world with it. For me, "My Brother's Name is Robert and He's an Idiot" is so far the best film I have seen in the competition. Radically sensually staged, radically freely narrated and putting its finger precisely into intellectual wounds."
IndiekinoBerlin (DE), 02/2018
Gröning is a thinker by images who knows how to push into the most radical filmic anarchy to find the spiritual and theoretical reasons for his characters, who are never biological objects, but rather theoretical and filmic tensions, insubordinate to their primary function. My Brother's Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot comes to the screen with the rational and instinctual freshness of an image reflected in its thought as much as in the light of which it is composed. The nouvellevague freedom of his writing, the game of unseating the characters from their didacticism, the determination to work in the space of the scene as if it were a naked body to be observed with desire, the trap of Time that snaps promptly on every desire to escape and on every determination of filmic being: Philip Gröning is a filmmaker of rare purity and freedom and this new film of his will remain as a rare, pure and free object."
Duels (IT), 02/2018
"The bravest, because least expected in this form, was Philip Gröning's My Brother's Name is Robert and he is an Idiot, which came up with breathtaking images of a cornfield in front of a petrol station, overcame time in jumpy, inconsistent montage and let a brother and sister discover incest."
"The picture will form in the viewer's head immediately after the finale. After all, cinema is like a melody, which ends with Elenas philosophical report. Like there is no song - only a string of sounds, each of which has a certain height. But for some reason, in memory - that is, in the past, in that elusive time - the melody, that remains. "
Meduza (RU), 02/2018