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Rude boys

Rude boys

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Brothers of the Head, about conjoined twins who get their sex on as punk rockers, is a strange, haunting, and feverishly hot new picture by life and filmmaking partners Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe.

Brothers of the Head, the smashing new feature from out moviemaking team Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, is not exactly explicitly gay. But it's one of the queerest movies you'll ever see.

The story centers on a set of conjoined twins, Tom and Barry Howe (played by the unconjoined and irresistibly gorgeous Harry and Luke Treadaway), who are discovered and groomed--make that "exploited"--by an impresario who's looking for a novelty rock band. Suffice it to say the guy gets more than he bargained for.

Shifting between the present day and the brothers' furious punk heyday in '70s Britain, Brothers is presented in the guise of a documentary by one Eddie Pasqua (Tom Bower). But this is neither a rockumentary nor a spoof. Rather, it's a cross between The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (the saga of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols) and The Man Who Fell to Earth--wherein space alien David Bowie disassembles before our very eyes.

No, the Howe twins aren't from another planet. But there's something "otherworldly" about them that puts the film at considerable distance from the Farrelly brothers' conjoined jape Stuck on You or even Chained for Life, the '50s-era exploitation flick starring hip-joined vaudevillians Violet and Daisy Hilton.

Filmmakers Fulton and Pepe (who met in college and have been living and working together ever since) got their start in "making-of" featurettes, one of which became its own film when Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote collapsed from financial and production woes. Their documentary retelling, Lost in La Mancha, put Fulton and Pepe on the map.

Tony Grisoni, another Gilliam survivor, joined Brothers as a scriptwriter. But "script" here is an unusual notion. Brothers shapes and reshapes itself--fiction mixing with reality, at every instant. "In some ways, the Aldiss novella is a starting-off point," notes Fulton. "Eddie Pasqua wasn't in it. But his point of view becomes very important. He seems to be a nice guy, but his camera intrudes into a lot of places because of the twins."

The hallmark of this intrusiveness is a repeated scene of the camera spying on the twins as they bathe one another in a clearly erotic fashion. While one of them gets a girlfriend who nearly drives them apart literally as well as figuratively--"She's the Yoko of our story," says Pepe--and the other carries on with a male member of the crew, something's going on between the twins that's way beyond ordinary fraternal love. And the Treadaways, who share a lusty onscreen lip-lock, are really into it. So what's the story?

"Oh, it's very dangerous to go there," says Pepe. Let's hope he really means "to be continued."

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David Ehrenstein