A hard-to-swallow tale of reconciliation beyond the grave that blends Sephardic superstition and strange magical-realist touches.

Some of Israel’s top actors chew the scenery in melodrama-comedy mix “My Lovely Sister,” a hard-to-swallow tale of reconciliation beyond the grave that blends Sephardic superstition and strange magical-realist touches. Still, the star power, strong production values and a touching finale could help helmer Marco Carmel’s second feature, set in an impoverished settlement, find a home on the Jewish-interest circuit.

Rahma (Evelin Hagoel) hasn’t spoken to her younger sister Marie (Reymonde Amsellem) in more than 20 years, ostensibly because Marie broke their religious parents’ hearts by marrying an Arab (Norman Issa). But lurking below the surface is some unspoken history involving Marie and Rahma’s security guard hubby Robert (Moshe Ivgy). Mysteriously, Rahma is in thrall to a voice she hears in her bedroom wall that she tries to pacify with special pastries. When Marie, who is dying, seeks the papers she needs to be buried next to their mother, Rahma cruelly refuses to help. Soon Marie’s ghost is haunting both Rahma and Robert, while their son (Itay Turgeman) faces a quandary over his sex-aid business. Crisp lensing by Giora Bejach (“Lebanon”) leads the solid tech package.

My Lovely Sister

Israel

Production

A United King Film release of a United King Film, Movie Plus production. Produced by David Mandil , Moshe Edery , Leon Edery. Directed by Marco Carmel. Screenplay, Carmel, Emmanuel Pinto.

Crew

Camera (color), Giora Bejach; editor, Shimon Spector; music, Avi Belleli; production designer, Miguel Markin. Reviewed at Jerusalem Film Festival (competing), July 10, 2011. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Moshe Ivgy, Evelin Hagoel, Reymonde Amsellem, Norman Issa, Itay Turgeman. (Hebrew, Arabic dialogue)
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