Ursula Meier's debut theatrical feature 'Home' found critical favour, winning several awards, and becoming the Swiss entry for Best Foreign Language Academy Award. The film played at the BFI London Film Festival in 2008, and her follow up, 'Sister' has made its UK debut at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival, again nominated by the Swiss for Oscar consideration.
Twelve year old Simon (the tremendous Kacey Mottet Klein) lives with his unreliable sister (Leá Seydoux, recently seen in 'Mission Impossible 4') in a small apartment. Simon steals from the holidaying folk at the nearby ski resort to provide for the both of them, setting in motion an understated but affecting melodrama.
Encountering holidaying mother (Gillian Anderson) and crooked Scottish chef (Martin Compston), they almost act as independent surrogate parents without ever realising or seemingly affecting Simon's compulsion and propensity to steal. A stunning familial revelation then entirely reframes the viewer's experience of the film - so abrupt, it initially comes across as comical, till the bitter truth sets in.
Ursula Meier's second theatrical feature occasionally and rather perversely resembles 'The Kid With A Bike', a film I had next to no love for. The hardship here is much more vivid and understandable however, and the vast mountainous vistas provide an intriguing setting - both cold and sumptuous. The vulnerability of the entire situation is encompassed in the final, passing shot.
'Sister'/'L'Enfant d'en haut' screened at the 56th BFI London Film Festival. 'Sister' is out in UK cinemas tomorrow, through Soda Pictures.