Combustible Celluloid
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With: LŽa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, Martin Compston, Gillian Anderson
Written by: Ursula Meier, Gilles Taurand, Antoine Jaccoud
Directed by: Ursula Meier
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 97
Date: 02/13/2012

Sister (2012)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ski Agent

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

If you fell in love with blue-haired Léa Seydoux in this year's Blue Is the Warmest Color, or if you recognized her from her appearances in American films (Inglourious Basterds, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol), or if you just like a good arthouse movie, then you'll enjoy Ursula Meier's Sister.

Seydoux plays the title sister, Louise, but the action is focused mainly on her younger brother, twelve year-old Simon (played with grace and maturity by Kacey Mottet Klein). Living alone together in a housing project near a swanky ski resort, Simon has learned to make a living by stealing expensive ski equipment and selling it to local kids.

Like most kids, Simon is merely looking for approval from his parents, or in this case, his sister, but she keeps rebuffing him by skimming through a series of crappy jobs and sleazy boyfriends. He seems to be the lowest priority on her list. Eventually Simon befriends a seasonal cook (Martin Compston) and cooks up a new scheme. Of all people, Gillian Anderson co-stars in a small role as a vacationing skier who gives Simon some much-needed attention.

With cinematography by the great Agnès Godard, who pays special attention to locations and outdoor textures, director Meier uses the crossing of space to beautiful effect here. As with her last film Home (2008), she makes location and space a primary factor in defining the characters, the wealthy skiers high up above, and the poor locals down below.

Meier has a patient, quiet style and digs into her story with patience and grace that genuinely earns its heartbreaking quality. This is a very good movie. Kino Lorber released a 2013 DVD with no extras (and no Blu-ray edition).

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