My Skinny Sister

 

starstarstarHalf

 



Having suffered from anorexia in her childhood, Swedish filmmaker Sanna Lenken has created a drama about it but has added a telling portrait of a close but complex sibling relationship.


Anyone who has experienced anorexia in person or who is familiar with it through family or friends may well be drawn strongly to this Berlin Film Festival prizewinner. It’s a first feature by Sanna Lenken who as writer has been careful to broaden the film’s appeal by inserting this theme into a story about two sisters. They are Stella (Rebecka Josephson) who is not yet in her teens and her older sister, Katja (Amy Deasismont), who is older and showing strong talent as a figure skater. Theirs is a troubled relationship made more so because plump young Stella while admiring Katja also envies her and attempts to emulate her on the rink fail. This increases tensions between them. The cruelties and rivalries of the two girls are captured as acutely as their concern for each other and the two actresses – Rebecka Josephson especially – are superb.


If the early scenes of ordinary family life prompt thoughts of Ozu’s films, My Skinny Sister then moves into fresh territory as Stella gradually becomes aware that Katja has a problem that she will not acknowledge: anorexia. Drama grows out of that and it is clearly the central issue of the film, a fact that makes one wonder if, given Lenken’s apparent desire to make issues around anorexia better known, she should have opted for a documentary. As drama it won’t be everybody’s choice, but in many ways it is admirably done. However, just when one thinks how much more sentimental a Hollywood remake would be, My Skinny Sister provides final scenes which, if not grossly sentimental, move in that direction and do seem rather contrived. But if the subject matter appeals you will not be disappointed.  

      

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Rebecka Josephson, Amy Deasismont, Annika Hallin, Henrik Norlen, Maxim Mehmet.


Dir Sanna Lenken, Pro Annika Rogell, Screenplay Sanna Lenken, Ph Moritz Schultheiss, Pro Des Ellen Oseng, Ed Hanna Lejonqvist, Music Per Storby Jutbring, Costumes Mimmi Harms Oredsson.


Tangy/Fortune Cookie Film/Film i Väst/Sveriges Television-Matchbox Films.
95 mins. Sweden/Germany/Norway. 2015. Rel: 27 November 2015. Cert. 15.