LA Film Fest 2012
By Don Simpson | June 24, 2012
Director: Ursula Meier
Writers: Ursula Meier, Antoine Jaccoud, Gilles Taurand
Starring: Kacey Mottet Klein, Léa Seydoux, Martin Compston, Gillian Anderson, Jean-François Stévenin, Yann Trégouët, Gabin Lefebvre, Magne-Håvard Brekke, Simon Guélat
Economic disparity is at the dead center of Ursula Meier’s Sister. At the top of the mountain is a wealthy conglomerate of European vacationers who head downhill with the highest quality of skis, clothing and goggles. At the bottom of the mountain is a housing project populated with the poorest of the poor. The frontier is vertical and social, dividing the peaks of a ski resort from the working class valley it overlooks.
The twelve-year-old Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) takes it upon himself to become a pre-pubescent Robin Hood-like figure, stealing from the rich and selling to the poor, reaping enough profit to support his family. (“They are so rich they don’t care.”) Simon conceals his identity with ski boots, bulky jacket and helmet; he reaps rewards ranging from sandwiches and small change to expensive ski jackets, skis, goggles and poles.
Simon’s mother, Louise (Léa Seydoux), is young enough to pass as Simon’s sister — a ruse that the thieving duo hope to perpetuate for as long as possible. Louise is a wild yet insatiable young ruffian who — for better or worse — depends upon Simon for survival. Simon takes incalculable risks, stashing stolen gear behind bins and changing his disguise in toilets, donning several layers of stolen garments. At the end of each day, Simon must sell his swag for its market price.
Meier contemplates the contrasts between the two economic worlds with industrial wastelands, car parks and nondescript housing blocks that play in an absurd juxtaposition to the ludicrous-yet-luscious tranquility of the ski resort. But, truth be told, I will watch anything shot by cinematographer Agnès Godard or starring the French Michelle Williams, Léa Seydoux…