‘You Resemble Me’: Dina Amer’s extraordinary directorial debut


(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 whilst their mom sleeps at house. After they go back, they’re met now not with maternal love and fear, however with exploitation and, steadily, a beating. After one such explosive interlude, the women run away, sending them on a adventure that starts in sisterly unity however leads to tragedy.

At one level, the women are separated, and it’s Hasna’s lifestyles that filmmaker Dina Amer chronicles in “You Resemble Me,” an odd directorial debut in keeping with precise occasions wherein shape and content material fuse to find a new cinematic language. Traumatized by way of her previous and the wrenching manner Mariam used to be taken from her, Hasna copes by way of splintering off her identities — Moroccan immigrant, Parisian birthday celebration lady, sexual libertine, tomboyish hothead — whilst she desperately seeks to combine them within the type of house and circle of relatives.

The usage of 3 actresses to play the grownup Hasna, together with Amer herself, the filmmaker gracefully dramatizes dissociation, each as a survival mechanism and as an an increasing number of fraught type of appearing out. As portrayed first by way of Grimaudo and later by way of Amer, Sabrina Ouazani and Mouna Soualem, Hasna emerges as an interesting but in addition troubling display screen heroine, a brave protector of the defenseless whose instincts have nowhere to head when Mariam disappears from her lifestyles.

“You Resemble Me” can be a shiny, superbly acted mirrored image of dispossession and cultural dislocation if it stayed something. However, like its mercurial protagonist, it adjustments form to grow to be a deeply significant meditation on narrative itself, mixing reality and fiction right into a seamlessly poetic complete. There are moments when the feelings grow to be virtually too extremely pitched, however that is sensible as Amer’s technique turns into transparent. The Dickensian setting of Hasna and Mariam’s formative years finally ends up having disastrous real-world implications, because the older sister takes an increasing number of drastic movements to search out her position in a global that both doesn’t see her or doesn’t need her.

Like Heidi Ewing’s 2020 movie “I Lift You With Me,” Amer’s portrait is each delicately impressionistic and stunningly revelatory. Amer has taken an differently disposable headline and plumbed its maximum nuanced and psychologically complicated depths, with the end result that the target audience would possibly by no means see information tales just about as simplistically. On this manner, she’s accomplished not anything lower than alternate the sector — or no less than how we understand it.

Unrated. At Angelika Mosaic and Angelika Pop-Up at Union Marketplace. Comprises grownup issues, profanity, some smoking and violence. In French and Arabic with subtitles. 91 mins.

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