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TWIN SISTERS aka DE TWEELING
USA: Miramax Films
UK: Optimum Releasing
Cast: Ellen Vogel, Thekla Reuten, Gudrun Okras, Nadja Uhl, Jeroen Spitzenberger, Roman Knizka, Julia Koopmans, Sina Richardt, Betty Schuurman, Jaap Spijkers, Hans Somers, Hans Trentelman, Marieke Van Leeuwen, Margarita Broich, Roman Knizka, Barbara Auer, Ingo Naujoks
Director: Ben Sombogaart
Countries: Netherlands / Luxembourg
Languages: Dutch / German (English subtitles)
USA: 135 mins
UK: 115 mins
USA Rated: R for brief sexuality and a scene of violence
UK Certificate: 12A contains moderate sex and violence
USA Release Date: 6 May 2005
UK Release Date: 6 May 2005
After the deaths of their parents the inseparable twin sisters Anna and Lotte Bamberg are cruelly separated at the age of six. Anna remains in Germany, growing up in relatively harsh circumstances on the farm of her uncle Heinrich and his wife Martha. The sickly Lotte is given a loving home in The Netherlands by distant relations, the Rockanjes.
The little Anna grows up with her uncle and aunt, who are both of simple Roman Catholic farmer's stock. She is kept home from school to help on the farm, where she is treated badly by Aunt Martha. She keeps inquiring about her sister Lotte until her aunt cruelly makes her believe that Lotte is dead.
Lotte in the meantime recovers from her illness and grows up in the well to do and sophisticated environment of the Rockanje family. She writes to Anna several times and is sad not ever to receive a reply, not knowing that her stepparents have never sent her letters away, because they are afraid they'll lose Lotte to her family in Germany, if they get notice that she is completely recovered.
In her teens Lotte falls in love with the music student David, the son of Jewish friends of the family. She confides to him that she used to have a twin sister, of whose whereabouts she is now completely ignorant.
Things get worse for Anna, when her uncle and aunt find out that Anna is seeing a young Nazi Bernd. As good Catholics they are fervently distrustful of Hitler and his Nazis, who have seized power. When they discover Anna is still seeing Bernd against their express orders, Heinrich beats up Anna leaving her lying more dead than alive in the yard. There she is found by the village priest, who helps her escape from her misery at last, taking her away to a boarding school for poor Roman Catholic girls.
It's a few years later, just before the breakout of the War, that Lotte discovers the truth about her letters to Anna. She is now determined to find Anna. She discovers her address and writes her a long letter. It reaches Anna who is now working as a maid in service of the kind and extremely wealthy and aristocratic Falkenau family. Anna is overjoyed to discover her sister is still alive. They arrange that Lotte will visit her and the Falkenaus permit Anna to invite her to stay for the night.
At last a reunion follows on the brink of the Second World War. Although they are glad to be reunited at last they both feel they've drifted apart. When they meet shortly after the War the estrangement has become definite due to their different war experiences in hostile camps. It's especially Lotte, who makes it clear that she wants to ban the memory of her sister out of her life forever.
The film begins, when the elderly and poorly Anna seeks out Lotte, who is staying in a health resort in Spa (Belgium). Anna is desperate to enforce a reconciliation, but Lotte is still, after all these years, reluctant to speak with her. In the end, during a long walk in the woods, while they lose their way, a confrontation cannot be delayed anymore. As they listen to each other's life stories up to the day of their last meeting, they begin to understand the impact of the different circumstances, in which they were both brought up, on their lives.
The film TWIN SISTERS is based on the book of the same name by Tessa de Loo, published by Uitgeverij De Arbeiderspers