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Twisted Sister

Two siblings from different generations uncover some unhappy truths during a vacation together in "Twisted Sister," a watchable though hardly groundbreaking soph feature by German helmer Ed Herzog.

With:
With: Heike Makatsch, Anna Maria Muehe, Marc Hosemann, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Ludwig Trepte, Esther Zimmering, Grischa Huber.

Two siblings from different generations uncover some unhappy truths during a vacation together in “Twisted Sister,” a watchable though hardly groundbreaking soph feature by German helmer Ed Herzog. Saddled with a catchpenny English title that makes pic sound like a psychothriller, this neatly directed dramedy provides a fine showcase for talented actress Heike Makatsch, here also co-writing and co-producing, in her second outing with Herzog after 2005’s U.S.-set “Almost Heaven.” Film’s quieter revelation, however, is 22-year-old up-and-comer Anna Maria Muehe as the perceptive younger sister. Perfect fare for German film weeks, pic goes out locally in early September.

Makatsch plays Anne, a thirtysomething Berlin music exec who’s a nervy workaholic and has an unreliable, terminally laid-back b.f. (Marc Hosemann), whom she loves. Six weeks pregnant but keeping the news to herself, Anne goes on a short holiday to Spain with her 18-year-old sister, Marie (Muehe), whom she hardly knows.

Sebastian Edschmid’s bleached, widescreen lensing nicely captures the out-of-season look of the seaside resort town as Anne and Marie settle into an apartment and try to find common ground. Reversing stereotypes, script has the placid Marie as the more sensible, settled one, while Anne, perpetually on her cell phone or computer, is disillusioned with her job and confused.

Differences start to show when Anne drunkenly tries to bed a young student, Max (Sebastian Urzendowsky), who’s also vacationing there with his pal, Matze (Ludwig Trepte). When Max and Marie later get it together, Anne increasingly feels sidelined by her age and goes into minor meltdown.

Makatsch’s high-strung yuppie is cut from familiar cloth, but the thesp plays it with enough irony and verbal comedy to keep the movie from sinking under too much seriousness. As the quiet Marie, Muehe is aces — so much so that her part seems underexposed compared to Makatsch’s.

Chemistry between the two thesps is very natural. Technically, pic is smooth, with Uta Schmidt’s tight editing complementing Edschmid’s discreetly rigorous visuals.

Twisted Sister

Germany

Production: An NFP release of an Egoli Tossell Film production, in association with Zweite Medienfonds GFP II KG, ZDF/Das kleine Fernsehspiel, with participation of Arte. Produced by Judy Tossell. Co-producers, David Groenewold, Heike Makatsch. Directed by Ed Herzog. Screenplay, Johanna Adorjan, Heike Makatsch.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Sebastian Edschmid; editor, Uta Schmidt; music, Paar Hunde; art directors, Brigitte Schloegel, Emanuel Schleiermacher; sound (Dolby), Frank "Talky" Regente; sound designer, Mirko Reinhard. Reviewed on DVD, Edinburgh, U.K., Aug. 21, 2007. (In Edinburgh Film Festival -- Directors' Showcase.) Running time: 98 MIN.

With: With: Heike Makatsch, Anna Maria Muehe, Marc Hosemann, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Ludwig Trepte, Esther Zimmering, Grischa Huber.

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