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Brother and Sister

Quickcard Review - 46th Chicago International Film Festival CLICK HERE for complete coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF 2010)

Brother and Sister

Directed by: Daniel Burman Cast: Antonio Gasalla, Graciela Borges, Elena Lucena Running Time: 1 hr 45 min Rating: R Release Date: TBD

PLOT: A brother and a sister struggle to come to terms with their mother's death as well as with one another in this import from Argentina.

WHO'S IT FOR? The movie itself draws an immediate comparison to the Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman movie The Savages. Fans of coming-of-age dramas and foreign films may enjoy this tale of the complicated relationship between two siblings.


Brother & Sister is an enjoyable slice of life piece from director Daniel Burman. While some folks may find it slow, which is it is in some parts, most importantly it is a sincere effort. It doesn't set about chronicling the troubles of these two and trying to fix them in under two hours like so many others do. Instead, it is content in painting a fairly realistic and fully realized relationship that hints at some sort of resolution, but never dumbs it down or spells it out for the audience. After all, there have been years of conflict between the two protagonists and to assume that everything can be squared away in such short time is ludicrous. take it from a youngest child. Sure, there are the countless fights between them, but the truly important moments are the silences that Marcos and Susana share. Burman does a beautiful job of making the audience at home with these characters. Marcos is a sweet and sincere man who proves himself to be a diligent son from the beginning. He's the more realistic of the two, but Gasalla embodies the role so completely, he's fascinating to watch even performing the most mundane tasks, such as cooking. Susana on the other hand, is a larger than life character. She's snobby and controlling, and all signs point to her being insufferable to watch, but it's this air about her that makes her hilarious in one scene and heartbreaking the next. Neither of them are entirely perfect, but it is their flaws that make them relatable and intriguing in the simplest way. Needless to say Brother & Sister is a film for the self-professed art film lover, but it should not simply be written off as such. In the lowest points, I was laughing along with these characters, but at the highest, I saw so much of myself and my own sister in Marcos and Susana. Certainly it doesn't represent all aspects of sibling life, as these are somewhat unique characters, but that kernel of truth in the depiction of these characters in all their ugliness and simplicity is what makes Brother & Sister such a simplistic but poignant film.



Asleep in the Sun