You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Brandon Teena Story

The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year's Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. "The Brandon Teena Story" is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from securing select theatrical bookings, but it should play successfully on quality TV nets.

The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from securing select theatrical bookings, but it should play successfully on quality TV nets.

Brandon Teena was born a girl, Teena Brandon, in Lincoln, Neb. When Teena decided her sexual orientation was male, she changed her name and underwent surgery to remove her breasts. As Brandon, he started dating girls, some of whom are interviewed and testify to the fact that he was a thoughtful and generous partner and a good kisser. One remarks that “it was nice to be treated like a lady.”

At the beginning of December 1993, the 20-year-old Brandon left his home and moved to nearby Falls City, where he soon started dating a young woman. Before long, however, he was arrested for passing a forged check, and was charged under his real name. The revelation of the true gender of a man they’d accepted as one of them outraged a couple of macho locals, who attacked Brandon on Christmas Eve, beating and raping him.

Brandon filed a complaint for rape and assault, but, on New Year’s Eve, was found shot dead along with two other people in the house where he was staying. The rapists were convicted for the killings (each accused the other, and one is now on death row while the other is serving a life sentence for his crime).

Pic is composed mostly of interviews with people who knew Brandon. These include his mother and sister, the girl he dated in Falls City, her mother and the two convicted killers. Also incorporated into the drama are recordings of court proceedings and an interview with a deputy sheriff, plus TV news coverage of the events. With all this, pic’s few brief enacted scenes are unnecessary.

One of the most disturbing segments of the film is the recording of an interview in which, after Brandon’s rape, he was quizzed by Falls City’s sheriff, whose prejudice against homosexuality and transsexuality is evident throughout the exchange. Dealing with a youth who has just undergone an extremely traumatic experience, the law officer shows scant sympathy or insight into Brandon’s plight.

Brandon’s story is that of a gentle character whose sexuality makes him a target of redneck intolerance and violence in a peaceful but conservative middle American community. The tragic events are potently described via the various witnesses, and filmmakers Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir have done a fine job of exploring a terrible tragedy.

The Brandon Teena Story

(Docu)

Production: A Bless Bless Prods. production. (International sales: Film Transit, Montreal.) Produced by Susan Muska. Executive producer, Jane Dekrone. Directed, written by Susan Muska, Greta Olafsdottir.

Crew: Camera (color), Muska; editors, Muska, Olafsdottir. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 21, 1998. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: Camera (color), Muska; editors, Muska, Olafsdottir. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama), Feb. 21, 1998. Running time: 89 MIN.

More Film

  • village rockstars TIFF

    Village Rockstars,' ‘Summer 1993’ win Mumbai Film Festival

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

  • Vivien Leigh

    Vivien Leigh Biopic in Works From 'Feud: Bette and Joan' Writers (EXCLUSIVE)

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

  • Bill Nighy

    Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy 'Made in Italy'

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

  • Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing

    Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

  • VidAngel logo

    VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy to Put Copyright Fight on Hold

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

  • Morgan Freeman Colin Powell

    Morgan Freeman to Play Colin Powell in Biopic

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum Pulls Sexual Abuse Movie, Cutting Ties With Weinstein Company

    The background to a triple homicide committed on New Year’s Eve 1993 in a small Nebraska town is explored in depth in this probing, powerful documentary. “The Brandon Teena Story” is a study of the banality of evil based on deep-seated prejudices. Only the poor standard of the video-to-film transfer will prevent the pic from […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content