Conceived as a training tool for students who work with helmer Marco Bellocchio in his summer filmmaking course, “Sisters” is a collaborative effort shot over three years that still retains the master’s authorial voice in the way it looks at a family divided between a sense of belonging and the modern need to find one’s place in the world. Little more than a footnote to Bellocchio’s career, using the services of family and friends on top of the three groups of students, pic holds viewer interest and may find fests knocking before a fourth segment is added.
Young Elena (the helmer’s own daughter) lives with her elderly aunts (the helmer’s sisters Maria Luisa and Letizia) in the family house in Bobbio. Mom Sara (Donatella Finocchiaro) visits from Milan when not working as an actress, though uncle Giorgio (the helmer’s son Pier Giorgio) feels she should be more hands-on in her daughter’s upbringing. Segments from 1999, 2004 and 2005 develop the story and highlight the difficulties when traditional roots rub against the struggle to carve out an independent life. Brief clips from Bellocchio’s films nicely connect characters with earlier themes.