One to keep you warm at night

Your Sis­ter’s Sis­ter

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Un­til last week I hadn’t come across the term ‘‘mum­blecore’’ or seen any pic­tures made by or star­ring Mark and Jay Du­plass, Lynn Shel­ton, An­drew Bu­jal­ski, Aaron Katz or Joe Swan­berg.

I’ll blame my young chil­dren for this pocket of film geek ig­no­rance, since their ar­rival and as­so­ci­ated ex­penses in re­cent years have pri­mar­ily kept me away from film fes­ti­vals – nor­mally the only oc­ca­sions one’s likely to en­counter these film mak­ers.

I was aware of the buzz sur­round­ing Hump­day in 2009 but alas, never made it to a screening and the Du­plass broth­ers broke into the mul­ti­plexes with Cyrus in 2010 but it starred Jonah Hill right around the time I felt I had had enough of Jonah Hill.

Mum­blecore pred­i­cates a move­ment or shared char­ac­ter­is­tics of low bud­get film mak­ing where nat­u­ral­is­tic di­a­logue and im­pro­vised per­for­mances are to the fore, ten­den­cies that pre­vail in Your Sis­ter’s Sis­ter, which con­sists of three char­ac­ters at a sum­mer house, do­ing a lot of talk­ing, some drink­ing and a very short but very com­pli­cat­ing spell of sex.

It seems the pro­po­nents of mum­blecore, quite rightly, de­spise the awk­ward phrase and any sug­ges­tion that such a style of film-mak­ing was fash­ioned in the noughties is a mis­nomer.

Re­turn to Richard Lin­klater ( Slacker) and James Man­gold ( Heavy) in the early 1990s, or John Cas­savetes and Woody Allen in the 1960s and 1970s, and you’ll find sim­i­lar predilec­tions to­wards no-frills film-mak­ing with ram­bling repar­tee.

Of course, it doesn’t mat­ter who came first, so long as it’s en­gag­ing cinema and Your Sis­ter’s Sis­ter cer­tainly that.

Strug­gling to re­cover from the death of his brother 12 months ear­lier, Jack (Mark Du­plass) is sent to a re­mote is­land hol­i­day house by his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who was also an

is ex-girl­friend of his late brother.

When Jack ar­rives he finds Iris’ sis­ter Han­nah had sim­i­lar ‘‘metime’’ in­ten­tions af­ter a re­la­tion­ship bust-up. Jack and Han­nah lick their emo­tional wounds with the help of a bot­tle of tequila and one thing leads to an­other which leads to the bed­room.

The next day Iris makes a sur­prise ap­pear­ance and things get very com­pli­cated.

Jack, Iris and Han­nah are a Ber­muda tri­an­gle of se­crets, af­fec­tion and af­flic­tion but this isn’t a pic­ture built on gush­ing con­fes­sions and reve­la­tions. Though the third act does get a lit­tle con­trived and over­wrought in its ef­fort to en­sure each char­ac­ter has a cross to bear. The magic here is in the lit­tle mo­ments; the chat­ter of sib­lings, Iris and Jack feint­ing plea­sure in Han­nah’s ve­gan pan­cakes, Han­nah teas­ing Iris about an ex-boyfriend, Jack’s jit­tery guilt about his and Han­nah’s brief en­counter.

De­spite a cou­ple of forced turns, Your Sis­ter’s Sis­ter rings true. The per­for­mances are from the top shelf and di­rec­tor Lynn Shel­ton mines ev­ery ounce of wist­ful­ness from the damp, woody Pa­cific North­west set­ting.

And per­haps bet­ter than the movie it­self is the re­minder that there are still film mak­ers who can wring more emo­tion, hu­mour and hu­man­ity with a bud­get of $125,000 than a whole sum­mer’s slate of bloated block­busters could man­age com­bined.

Three wheeler: Jack (Mark Du­plass) and sis­ters Iris (Emily Blunt) and Han­nah (Rose­marie DeWitt) keep it nat­u­ral in low-bud­get dram­edy Your Sis­ter’s Sis­ter with re­ward­ing re­sults.

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