TIFF 2013: October November Review

October November

October November

Contemporary World Cinema

Director: Gotz Spielmann

Sonja (Nora von Waldstätten) is an actress living in the city that loves her fame, but it’s a defense mechanism for her growing identity crisis. She’s the polar opposite to her older sister, Verena (Ursula Strauss), who has nobly remained at their family home to tend to their ailing father. Verena shares Sonja’s habit of internalizing her personal issues as her quiet domestic life – complete with a loving and devoted husband and young child – is ultimately muddy by a clandestine affair with the village doctor.  As this family reunites, old wounds will come to light, sibling rivalries will be renewed and secrets will be revealed.

This follow up to Spielmann’s stunning 2008 film Revanche, is sadly underwhelming, as attempts to manufacturing any real drama, never really go anywhere. It’s beautiful to look at, especially as the sister’s stories are kept separate with beautiful use of contrast between the big city and the picturesque (but also occasionally desolate) countryside.  Spielmann is in his element showing the differences between the sisters, but when they come together, not much happens.

Waldstätten plays emotionally damaged and fragile well, while Strauss (who was in previous his film) doesn’t have a lot to work with, and the chemistry between the two is distressingly minimal.

This film doesn’t come close to matching the drama and intensity of Spielmann’s previous efforts. (Dave Voigt)


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