By Stephen Weir
First, there was the book. Then, there were many book prizes. Next? A movie based on his novel was showcased at TIFF, and it received numerous awards. Earlier, it was screened in theaters across Canada.
David Chariandy’s Scarborough-based story, “Brother,” has made history in both the literary and cinematic realms in Canada.
For Canadians who missed out on David Chariandy’s “Brother,” you have one last chance to discover the phenomenon. Netflix is now streaming the film made in the GTA. However, the streaming service warns that you only have a month to watch it, as the movie will disappear from its catalog on November 21.
The film stars Aaron Pierre as Francis and Lamar Johnson as Michael, with supporting cast members including Kiana Madeira, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Lovell Adams-Gray, Maurice Dean Wint, and Dwain Murphy. The screenplay was written by director Clement Virgo, a Canadian film and television writer, producer, and director.
“Brother” was written by Trinidadian-Canadian David Chariandy in 2017. The novel is based on Chariandy’s experience growing up in Scarborough. The book has received numerous literary awards. Chariandy is a professor at Simon Fraser University.
In “Brother,” Chariandy tells the story of two brothers, the sons of Trinidadian immigrants, who confront violence and prejudice in a Toronto housing
complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.
When the film rights were acquired in 2018, the screenplay adapted the story somewhat. The Scarborough Trini brothers became Jamaican-Canadian brothers living in the Galloway Road neighborhood.
The movie was filmed in Scarborough in 2021. Horrors, truth be told, some scenes were apparently shot in Mississauga.