A touching and thoughtful examination of the lives of twin sisters in the tumultuous 1930’s and 1940’s, this Dutch film received a well-deserved 2003 Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Film. The film tells the story of twin sisters separated by the death of their family and sent to live in completely different circumstances. Lotte (Thekla Reuten) is sent to live in the Netherlands with an affluent family while her sister Anna (Nadja Uhl) lives with German peasants. They try to keep in touch with each other, but it becomes more and more difficult as the war engulfs the region.
Lotte, a participant in the Dutch resistance, falls in love with a Jewish man named David (Jeroen Spitzenberger). Anna falls for a soldier from Vienna, Martin (the incredibly handsome Roman Snizka), who is conscripted into the Nazi SS. Each woman loses her love to the war, Martin to a shell explosion, and David to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. All of this is revealed as extended flashbacks, with a modern meeting of the now elderly sisters. Elder Lotte (Ellen Vogel) cuts off contact with her sister Anna in the immediate aftermath of the war. Elder Anna (Gudrun Okras), has spent her life wondering why her sister was so hesitant to write to her as they got older and then cut her off entirely. The two ladies play a game of catch me if you can until Anna tracks down Lotte in a heavily wooded park and the two ladies finally reconcile.
The interactions between these two are so sweet and heartbreaking, especially as they end up stranded in the park and spend the night together sleeping next to each other, something they hadn’t done in more than a half-century. The movie is beautiful, beautifully shot and beautifully lit. It leaves the viewer thinking, a great thing for a movie to do. Subtitled in English, this is one well worth seeing.