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Brother's Keeper .Brother's Keeper (1992)

Did Delbert Ward kill his brother Bill (age 64) on June 6, 1990? This documentary film won a handful of awards (including at Sundance) for its sensitive exploration of that culturally complicated question. The four "Ward Brothers," as they were known, had lived their entire lives together in a filthy and dilapidated shack, complete with an abandoned yellow school bus to house their chickens, in rural, upstate New York. They were barely literate. They never changed their clothes, and so they smelled horrible. They had no running water or heat. But like many in those parts, they farmed the land, and that, you can be sure, as you watch the four seasons roll by, was hard work. At first the district attorney construed the death as an understandable if criminal "mercy killing." But then physical evidence indicated a possible "sex gone bad murder." After all, everyone knew, even though nobody cared, that Delbert and Bill slept together. The community of Munnsville rallied around their own. They raised Delbert's $10,000 bail in a day, and later held a church party for his defense fund. And by the way, these people are well aware of how outsiders look down on them as bumpkins. Like the "big city people" and the prosecutors who forced Delbert into signing a confession he did not and could not fully understand. National media like Connie Chung gave the case about these recluses national attention. The film makers interview everybody involved. Said one family friend, "People shouldn't be treated wrong just because they're stupid. Not really stupid, uneducated." The film opens with the famous question by Cain about the murder of Abel. I watched this film on Netflix Streaming.

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