Brother | 1997 | Aleksei Balabanov | Russia

Брат is a unique portrait of 1990s Russia. It shows the violence, desperation, poverty and moral decay of a nation in search for a new identity after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s a cult movie in Russia and for me an undisputable masterpiece with profound meaning.

There was a man, he was begging and pleading… and praying, I guess. And he was ‘please god’ing all over the place. So I told him he could have a half hour to pray to god, and if god could come down and change the circumstances he’d have that time. But god never showed up, and he never changed the circumstances. And that was that. - Convicted Hitman Richard ‘The Iceman’ Kuklinksi


Contract killer, Richard Kuklinski, was so deceitful when it came to hiding his brutal murders, that his wife had no idea as to why unmarked police vehicles, 3 helicopters, and dozens of officers armed with machine guns, had swarmed outside of their family home as the couple came back from a local diner.

On seeing the masses of police, Kuklinski casually turned on his heel and walked away from the ambush, until an officer came from behind him and pointed a gun to his head. He was subdued, and heaved into a high security vehicle.

Handcuffs were placed on Barbara Kuklinski, and the couple’s three daughters were removed and put into safe housing. Perplexed, Mrs. Kuklinski looked toward a frantic officer. For decades, she’d had no idea that her husband was best in business when it came to hitmen. Unbeknownst to her, he was more respected in the wider community, not for his seemingly kind demeanor, but for the shady connections that he had to major mafia bosses.

Understanding her confusion, the officer looked her in the eye and simply told her: “I’m sorry ma’am… he’s a mass murderer.”