Hussin Brothers: America ReCycled

Had they pitched this project in Europe, producers and financiers would have hesitated committing themselves as the brothers are debutants. And would have continued ”don’t start before you have all the money”. In this respect there is a difference between filmmaking in Europe and over here. In the US filmmakers take risks, well they have to, as public funding does not exist.

The brothers Hussin went off to do their first film with very little funding. From a production side point of view crazy and impressive! Noah and Tim Hussin went biking, 5000 miles in two years. On bikes built by themselves. America reCycled. Many case stories on how they made this happen, must be waiting for them – out there at festivals in the US and in Europe.

And they have made an impressive film! They allow us to meet

interesting people, who interpret the American Dream pretty much different than the one we know and the one the brothers were brought up with. The characters in the film have established small communities built on trust to each other, surviving on solidarity and a richness of innovation. They live outside the big cities, they eat roadkill (a new word in my vocabulary!), which they say is much more fresher than the meat you buy in plastic in the supermarket. They build their own houses or they squat, they pick up trash = food that has been thrown away, they party… They live a different life than the rest of us. And they like to have the brothers visit.

Some of the communities the brothers visit resemble what the Danish freetown in Copenhagen, Christiania, used to be (before it went bourgeois) and many of the people, they meet, make you think about the sixties – the gatherings around the fire, singing, peace and love.

The music in the film is there the whole way through. I asked Tim Hussin, who made a brilliant camerawork (wonderful sceneries, presence in the scenes with the characters) if they were specifically looking for communities where music played an important role. No he said, it just happened.

It has to be said that luckily the film is not only ”halleluja” praising the ”community efforts”. The brothers also end up at desolated places with people isolated, people who have given up – as Noah Hussin said ”there are a lot of broken lives out there”. And broken myths… the cowboy life in Texas is not what it used to be in the times of John Wayne and Ford. There are several highlights in the film journey – New Orleans where people have moved into the ruined houses after the Katrina hurricane, making them liveable. The Ghost Town in the desert with the motherly character running the place.

I would have loved to have more scenes of the brothers together. Alone on their journey. In a couple of scenes they are arguing, but there must have been many emotional moments that could have conveyed their brotherhood or reflect on the crazy project, they undertook. A lot of reflections is to be found in the commentary, that places the film as not only a road movie but also in the difficult essayistic category.

It’s not the first time we are taken on the road in America and of course you think of Jack Kerouac and the Route 66 films. But it must be the first time that we are invited to experience a bicycle road movie!

This film deserves a good life at festivals in Europe, and why not on television in a shorter version?

Seen at the American Documentary Film Festival, World Premiere.

USA, 2015, 100 mins. 












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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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