Evaluation | ‘You Resemble Me’: A rare directorial debut from Dina Amer

Remark

(3.5 stars)

Hasna (Lorenza Grimaudo) and Mariam (Ilonna Grimaudo) are sisters, born two years aside however raised like twins; at 9 and seven, they run wild within the streets of suburban Paris whereas their mom sleeps at house. After they return, they’re met not with maternal love and concern, however with exploitation and, typically, a beating. After one such explosive interlude, the women run away, sending them on a journey that begins in sisterly solidarity however ends in tragedy.

At one level, the women are separated, and it’s Hasna’s life that filmmaker Dina Amer chronicles in “You Resemble Me,” a rare directorial debut based mostly on precise occasions wherein type and content material fuse to find a brand new cinematic language. Traumatized by her previous and the wrenching approach Mariam was taken from her, Hasna copes by splintering off her identities — Moroccan immigrant, Parisian social gathering lady, sexual libertine, tomboyish hothead — whilst she desperately seeks to combine them within the type of house and household.

Utilizing three actresses to play the grownup Hasna, together with Amer herself, the filmmaker gracefully dramatizes dissociation, each as a survival mechanism and as an more and more fraught type of appearing out. As portrayed first by Grimaudo and later by Amer, Sabrina Ouazani and Mouna Soualem, Hasna emerges as an interesting but additionally troubling display heroine, a brave protector of the defenseless whose instincts have nowhere to go when Mariam disappears from her life.

“You Resemble Me” can be a vivid, superbly acted reflection of dispossession and cultural dislocation if it stayed one factor. However, like its mercurial protagonist, it modifications form to grow to be a deeply significant meditation on narrative itself, mixing truth and fiction right into a seamlessly poetic entire. There are moments when the feelings grow to be virtually too extremely pitched, however that is smart as Amer’s technique turns into clear. The Dickensian ambiance of Hasna and Mariam’s childhood winds up having disastrous real-world implications, because the older sister takes more and more drastic actions to search out her place in a world that both doesn’t see her or doesn’t need her.

Like Heidi Ewing’s 2020 movie “I Carry You With Me,” Amer’s portrait is each delicately impressionistic and stunningly revelatory. Amer has taken an in any other case disposable headline and plumbed its most nuanced and psychologically complicated depths, with the consequence that the viewers could by no means see information tales practically as simplistically. On this approach, she’s carried out nothing lower than change the world — or at the very least how we understand it.

Unrated. At Angelika Mosaic and Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market. Accommodates grownup themes, profanity, some smoking and violence. In French and Arabic with subtitles. 91 minutes.

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