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In Paris, a family is victim of a tragic incident, when the patriarch is accused by his wife of pedophilia. Years later, the three sisters have independent dysfunctional lives and never see each other. The middle sister Sophie finds that her beloved husband and photographer Pierre is unfaithful and is having an affair with Julie and he leaves her. When the lover discovers that Pierre has two children, she ends the affair. The youngest, Anne, is student of Sorbonne and has a crush and gets pregnant of her professor Frédéric, who is married and father of her best friend. The oldest sister, Céline, is a lonely woman that periodically travels by train to visit her handicapped dumb mother Marie that is trapped in a wheelchair in an asylum for elders. When the stranger Sébastien contacts Céline, she believes he is a shy admirer; however, after an awkward encounter, he reveals secrets from the past that will affect the relationship among the sisters. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
... brought lovingly to fruition. For those living until yesterday in a remote Galaxy on the Dark side of the Milky Way maybe I should explain that the late and Great Polish writer-director Krystian Kieslowski left among his papers three Screenplays, Heaven, Hell and Purgatory and now the fine Bosnian (No Man's Land) director Danis Tanovic has shot the second part so that what we have is a Polish screenplay directed by a Bosnian with a (largely) French cast. The result is harrowing but richly rewarding and Bergman buffs will feel right at home with the doom and gloom which is present in both the story and dark interiors. With actors of the calibre of Carole Bouquet, Manu Beart, Karin Viard, Jean Rochefort and Jacques Gamblin you'd have to work at screwing it up (okay, Godard could make a pig's ear of it without trying but luckily he's unrivalled at ineptness and incompetence)and Tanovic has scrupulously and perfectly captured the writer's intention. This is a film of nuances and 'moody' to the nth degree with three sisters united by a common tragedy but distanced from each other in the present; Karin Viard is the only one who visits mother (Carole Bouquet) long institutionalized and reduced to communicating via pencil and paper. Viard turns in a career-best performance as a bruised, repressed spinster, longing for companionship and Bouquet is not far behind completely deglamorized in straggly gray hair and a wonderful way with a curtain line. Marie Gillain is perhaps the most conventional character as the youngest sister who allows herself to become pregnant by a married Sorbonne Professor - played by Jacques Perrin finally escaping his fate as a top-and-tailer; he played the narrator in both Cinema Paradiso and Les Choristes and is on on view currently in Le Petite Lieutenant - who kills himself rather than deal with the situation, and Manu Beart is the terminally unhappy wife of Jacques Gamblin. There's not a lot of joy on offer here but there are some beautifully realised cameos like the porter on the train who finally plucks up courage to approach Viard romantically after years of punching her ticket as she travels to the institution and accepts defeat of a sort - he chooses the day when the sisters have reunited and are travelling together - philosophically and Jean Rochefort as a fellow inmate of Bouquet who does little but sit on a bench but HOW he does it. If your idea of a great movie is American Pie you won't last five minutes with this one but if you value fine acting, directing and storytelling you'll want to go again.
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