Of the 10 films I saw at the Boston Baltic Film Festival, Sisters will probably be the first I return to when it (hopefully) hits streaming one day. If my recommendation means anything to you, there are still a few days to catch it on the festival’s site.
A touching adolescent drama about the Latvian adoption system and foreign adopters (which have recently been banned by the country), Linda Olte’s feature directorial debut is a confident film. In some ways, it’s a more digestible take—playing to big domestic emotions but without the baited messiness—of recent years’ sad-story Oscar darlings.
Soft and warm as it may be, Sisters has teeth when it needs them. One or two scenes are difficult to stomach—but whatever happens, and much like the lives of the titular siblings, life simply goes on. My favorite scene from the entire festival, one I wrote about at greater length in my review, involves the pieced-together recollection of a horrible childhood memory. Defying the old adage, “show, don’t tell,” this scene tells and it tells it perfectly. To show would have been to erase it as a memory, to lose interest in the perceived reality of the film’s two main sisters: the thirteen year old Anastasija (Emma Skirmante) and eleven year old Diāna (Gerda Aljēna).
Read Joshua’s full review of Sisters here. The following interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Boston Hassle: Many filmmakers have one or two films that really define their interest in cinema. Do you have one or two films, or filmmakers, you could point to?
Linda Olte: It changes, of course, every year or so. I like (many) European directors, for example, the Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre) and the Polish Krzysztof Kieślowski. I love every Dardenne brother movie: how they tell their stories, how intimate they get with their characters.
Continue reading at the Boston Hassle.