Little Sister

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By Selmer Derwort

Dir: Robert Jan Westdijk

r0000786Little Sister is a classic yet still under-appreciated 1995 Dutch film. Made on a total allowance of $50k, this has to be one of the furthest stretched budgets in cinema history.

The story, which is not for the faint-hearted, revolves around a brother-sister relationship that has a deeply troubled past. The whole story is told from the perspective of the older brother, who wants to deal with those events and records his visit to his little sister on Super 8 tape. All we get to see is what the brother tapes, making the whole film feel like a home movie.

Why is Little Sister such a fantastic film? Because it so touchingly shows remnants of the love between brother and sister, while at the same time painfully demonstrating how their past has destroyed most of it. Because it makes you feel the pain and struggles of the older brother. And because it forces you to take the perspective of someone you would never want to identify with.

Little Sister can be tough to watch: it feels like a highly intimate, deeply disturbing home movie that grabs you by the throat. Yet it also has many moments of tenderness and an ending that is both beautiful and uncomfortable. To think that many of the involved were film students at the time of shooting should be enough to teach anyone to be ambitious.

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