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Siblings who direct

/ 10:13 PM December 21, 2012

THE COENS Sibling synergy and symbiotic creativity

Ridley and Tony Scott started it all as brothers who chose to work in the same profession as TV-film directors—but, they worked on separate projects, not together. The siblings who followed in their footsteps have opted to take that extra step, so the plot decidedly thickens!

For starters, the Farrelly brothers have generally chosen the “gross-out” comedy as their favored turf, jointly churning out such impudent and imprudent inputs as “There’s Something about Mary” and “Me, Myself & Irene.”

For their part, the Coen brothers opt to deal with more substantial and significant dramas, as their output (“Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski,” “No Country for Old Men” and “True Grit”) resoundingly attests.


In stark contrast, the Hughes brothers get turned on shooting violent movies like “The Book of Eli” and “Menace II Society.”

The Wachowski brothers are Polish-American film directors, screenwriters and producers, whose latest film, “Cloud Atlas,” is fascinating viewers in the metro even as we speak.

The film’s expansive treatment and expanding universe in terms of theme and brilliantly versatile visualizations make it the movie to watch this month.

In 1996, the Wachowskis led off as a filmmaking team with “Bound,” which was stunningly followed by “The Matrix,” one of modern cinema’s most shamelessly imitated and even ripped-off productions. Then came “The Matrix Reloaded,” “The Matrix Revolutions” and “Speed Racer,” Next, in 2014, they will follow up on “Cloud Atlas” with the similarly visionary “Jupiter Ascending!”

Tics and tweaks

Other siblings who direct include the Polish brothers, Mark and Michael, who specialize in horror and other harum-scarum tics and tweaks.

For their part, the Belgian Dardenne brothers elicited international attention when their film, “Rosetta,” clinched the Palm d’Or at the 1999 Cannes film festival. Since then, they have won more awards at Cannes than anybody else, jointly or singly.


David and Jerry Zucker plus Jim Abrahams are an American filmmaking trio who specialize in slapstick comedy, with films like “Airplane!,” “Ruthless People,” “The Naked Gun” and “An American Carol.”


Michael and Peter Spierig favor horror and “supernatural” subject matter.

Paolo and Vittoria Taviani are noted Italian filmmakers who have always worked together, each handling alternate sequences.

Here in Asia, we have the Pang brothers, veteran filmmakers (Danny and Oxide) who have megged horror hits like “The Eye,” which has had a Hollywood remake. They have also worked in Thailand, where they made their directorial debut as a team with “Bangkok Dangerous.”

On the distaff side, top writer-director Nora Ephron (“Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail”) and her sister, Delia, have similarly worked together on numerous romantic comedies.

So, why do siblings work as one in the movies? More than just because two minds are reputedly better than one, sibling synergy and symbiotic creativity are often powerful plus factors, as well. Skirmishes over “territory” can flare up, but (sibling) love (for filmmaking and for one another) conquers all!

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