The time is 1975. The place is London, birthplace of the burgeoning punk rock scene. Conjoined twins Tom and Barry Howe enjoy a brief, incendiary burst of notoriety as the front men for an angry glam/punk combo called The Bang Bang. Then it all goes horribly wrong. The component parts of Brian Aldiss' fever dream of a novel form the basis for this psychologically wrenching adaptation from the film Lost in La Mancha codirectors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe. Mixing equal parts Velvet Goldmine and 24 Hour Party People, Brothers of the Head vividly recaptures the mid-70s British music scene: a pot and pill fueled milieu peopled with abusive managers, inscrutable impresarios, and a beautiful music journalist who gets a little too close to her subject, or one of her subjects. Therein lies the crux of the conflict, as twins Luke and Harry Treadway play the conjoined brothers as two very different parts of one fatally compromised whole. Their intense, quasi-erotic bond, interrupted by paroxysms of hatred and violence, gives the film a compelling creepiness of the Nicolas Roeg/Ken Russell variety. Deliciously weird and ultimately haunting, Brothers of the Head will stick with you long after the tail credits roll. It also features one of the best original rock soundtracks since Hedwig and the Angry Inch, with songs written by Clive Langer, the British new-wave hitmaker who coproduced several Elvis Costello records. Try it. You'll have as much trouble separating yourself from the Howe brothers as they do from themselves.
Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe first teamed up while pursuing graduate film degrees at Temple University, and they have collaborated on documentary and fiction films for over a decade. While the two were in film school, director Terry Gilliam asked them to document his production of 12 Monkeys, resulting in the documentary The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of 12 Monkeys (1996), which chronicled the disintegration of Gilliam's long-awaited Don Quixote adaptation in their 2002 film Lost in La Mancha. It premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was released theatrically, going on to win the Evening Standard's Peter Sellers Award for Comedy in 2003. The directing duo's fiction work includes Moments of Doubt (1998), which won Best Short Film at the 1999 Hamptons International Film Festival. Prior to this, their most recent collaboration was the TV documentary Malkovich's Mail (2003).