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Alda, her sister Olga, and the latter's daughter Sigga live together in an old house facing a cemetery by the sea. Self-assured Alda collects men; Olga shuns them, but cannot help following the activities of Alda (who receives her lovers in the sisters' house) with some envy. In their own way, both women refuse any emotional ties with other people, while keeping a strange attachment to their family's past, their deceased parents, and a third, deceased, sister. Will they, and will Sigga, be able to escape that environment imbued by the presence of death and find their way to a true life ? Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
I haven't read the novel by Steinunn Sigurdardottir, but the film version that transports the story from Iceland to the rocky isle of Ouessant off the coast of Brittany has many moments of beauty amid the slow unfolding of the plot. Emmanuelle Beart and Sandrine Bonnaire represent two opposites: Alda is impulsive, a sexual tease, unsatisfied with her surroundings; while Olga is steady, motherly, devoted to her family (which includes the dead members, who are constantly referred to). It's hard not to see the skull beneath the skin when you live next to a cemetery.
Bonnaire has a wonderful scene at Christmas time where she watches her sister and daughter dancing to a sensual song and must accept that her life is coming to a close. She is so much the anchor and compass of this movie. Vahina Giocante is wonderful as the daughter, who has to steer a course between the extremes of the two older women. Emmanuel Beart does a fair job as the pixie Alda, but has been better for Sautet (Un coeur en hiver). This isn't Yves Angelo's best picture--that would be Colonel Chabert--but he gets the emotional tone right.
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