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The Boston Globe


Ursula Meier mixes reality into her film ‘Sister’

NEW YORK — Ursula Meier’s 2008 debut feature, “Home,” was a nightmarish eco-fable about a family whose world is turned upside down when an abandoned, unfinished four-lane highway suddenly opens to traffic right outside the front window of their house. Led by a headstrong mother, played by Isabelle Huppert, the family fiercely refuses to move away, despite toxic exhaust, the incessant swarm of passing cars and honking trucks, and the cracks forming in their increasingly fragile psyches.

With Meier’s new film, “Sister,” which opens in the Boston area on Friday, the allegorical aspects of the story are not apparent at first. While “Home” was suffused with surreal, dreamlike qualities with tinges of science fiction and horror, “Sister” initially projects an air of Ken Loach-style social realism, with nods to the Dardenne brothers, in its story of a complex relationship between a reedy 12-year-boy and his sullen, troubled older sister. But as the film progresses, Meier says she wanted to highlight the parable-like qualities of the story.

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