“What happens to our eyes, happens to our souls,” says one of the characters in “Two Brothers,” and rookie scribe-helmer Imanol Rayo seems to have taken this to heart for his adaptation of Basque novelist Bernardo Atxaga’s dark novella. There’s not a plain frame to be found in this impeccably designed tale of two siblings in the 1950s Basque Country, with the exquisite lensing and sound design — all ticking clocks, creaking floorboards, dogs barking in the distance — doing more to fully immerse auds than the meager scraps of narrative. Fests not afraid of heavily atmospheric fare will fraternize.
First word uttered, some six minutes in, is “Silence,” and doubles as a statement of intent. After the death of their father, young Paulo (Bingen Elortza, photogenic and pensive) needs to look after his slightly older, disabled brother, Daniel (Aitor Coteron, impressively mercurial), especially after Daniel’s interest in a pretty girl (Loreto Mauleon) causes trouble. Like the recent Basque feature “The Stone,” “Two Brothers” excels in creating a sense of place. Heavily symbolic imagery, such as apples and snakes, is often more telling than any direct story details.