Sponsored by Jennifer Strode
“An Italian filmmaker chronicles his mother’s attempts to unravel a family secret in Between Sisters. The subjects of the involving film are his mother and aunt, both residents of the mountain-rimmed town of Rovereto in northern Italy, one of them doggedly guarding a family secret. A deceptively narrow focus gives way to affecting observations about aging, familial bonds, and repressive traditions that shaped generations. Over the course of a year, director Manu Gerosa gathers moments of sharp intimacy as his mother, Ornella, 68, tries to draw long-buried truths from her obstinate and increasingly forgetful older sibling. The relationship between Ornella and Teresa—both strong personalities, in strikingly different ways—is what matters here, and it pulses through every frame…The nature of the sisters’ dedication is at the heart of the secrets that Ornella is determined to uncover, even as she fears what she’ll find out. Gerosa captures her gentle but forthright attempts to draw out Teresa… For Ornella, thinking is ‘the sap of life’; for the often comically belligerent Teresa, it’s something to be avoided at all costs. But the director catches subtle shifts in the sisters’ dance of persistence and resistance, and how it’s affected by their awareness of the camera—performance, in essence, eliciting truth. Between Sisters is no simplistic celebration of that truth. It embraces the messiness and acknowledges the suffering. Ornella zeros in on the hidden-in-plain-sight secret with the certainty that bringing it into the light can only set them both free, but she’s not quite prepared for the results.”—Sheri Linden, Variety.