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I saw this Spanish/Argentinan/Brazilian co-production at the recently concluded Dubai International Film Festival and was bowled over by the competence of the director and the performances of the actors especially that of the young boy interacting with his aunt.
The film reminded me in many ways of Hungarian director Zoltan Fabri's "The Fifth Seal", a film set in Hungary under Nazi occupation, where friends crack under fear and pressure. "Hermanas" looks at how an individual can place priorities on saving a near one from torture, while others look at the moral responsibility beyond the immediate kith and kin. The film leaves you disturbed: does the family matter more than a larger community? Even philosophers will find this disturbing to answer--which is why the late Fabri related the question to the opening of the Fifth Seal in the Book of Revelations.
Julia Solomonof has proved her mettle. Though I am physically far removed from Argentina, Spain or Brazil, I will watch out for her next directorial effort with anticipation.
Two sisters, Natalia and Elena are reunited after ten years of not having seen one another. Elena is living in suburban Walnut Creek with its clean neighborhoods and houses that look alike. Elena is married to Sebastian, a boy next door type; they have a young son, Tomas. Elena's arrival stirs the flames of the past. We get to know in flashbacks Elena's revolutionary past and how she had to flee Argentina from an almost sure death. Elena's boyfriend, Martin, does not survive the horrors he was put through. In a surprising twist, we get to know the truth about what happened to Martin, the victim of a betrayal.
Valeria Bertuccelli and Ingrid Rubio play Elena and Natalia, respectively. The problem lies in the way Ms. Solomonoff wrote the characters, the sisters are not interesting enough to hold our attention. Both actresses have done better in other films. The screenplay will present problems for viewers without a background about that dark period of Argentine history.
The acting is bad, the characters, while in sympathetic situations, aren't that sympathetic themselves, and I found myself not really caring about any of it. The plot leaves out a lot of story, and even tantalizes us with a possible side plot that may wake the audience from their stupor, but drop it as well.
The one bright spot of this atrocious film is the child of one of the sisters.
Without the child, this would be 1/10. Only watch if you are assigned to watch it for a class. You are better off reading a book on the Ar gentian coup than watching this.
Stay away. Don't say I didn't warn you.