Vienna as a non-stop nocturnal land and doss house, the flip side of its daytime persona, devoid of schmaltzy waltzes and ‘Mozartkugel’ chocolates. The protagonists of this documentary are young Bulgarian Romani who have wound up in Vienna due to poverty and the need to earn money for their families, and who are now offering their services at a hustler bar called ‘Rüdiger’ in the working class Margareten district. They wait, smoke, drink, play pool, dance, show off, fool around like young bulls, talk about their meagre excesses, their families and prostitutes, exchange experiences and information about the ‘bizness’. In the midst of a clash of cultures and traditions, they lead lives caught between worlds, between reality and illusion; transitory, deceptive, and fleeting.
Gus Van Sant meets James Bidgood meets Pasolini: Brothers of the Night is a hybrid, imbued with a rich baroque semi-darkness, deliberately and disturbingly oscillating between documentary and dramatised scenes. This is no moralising know-all ballad about hustlers, but rather a tender and empathetic hymn to the grim poetry of survival and the solidarity amongst the ostracised and the outsiders.