We Are One Film Festival – Sisterhood (2016)

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Directed by Tracy Choi, Sisterhood follows thirtysomething Sei (Gigi Leung), a struggling alcoholic who runs an inn with her husband in Taiwan. When she spots a newspaper ad informing her that her former best friend Ling (Jennifer Yu) has passed away, she returns to her home town of Macau where she reminisces about her former life while confronting her own demons.

When we first see Sei, we immediately know that something is wrong. Establishing her alcoholism from the start paints a picture of a troubled woman and the rest of the film slowly uncovers the mystery behind her sadness. Cue flashbacks to the 1990s, where teenage orphan Sei (Fish Liew) meets Ling when she becomes a masseuse.

As their friendship grows, Sei offers a stabilising force for the reckless Ling, whose need to support her parents slowly cause her life to unravel. This slowly shows that their idealistic and vibrant youth buckling under the harsh realities of life, not to mention their deepening connection threatening their friendship. It, however, comes to an abrupt end, which frustratingly prevents any form of closure, so any emotional investment feels wasted.

Choi’s direction contrasts the girls’ chaotic youth with their somewhat jaded adulthood amid the ever-changing Macau cityscape, while Au Kin-Yee’s simple screenplay emphasises Sisterhood‘s melancholic tone. The themes of the film allow Liew and Yu to deliver emotive performances, as little details make their friendship even more endearing and keep it as the heart of Sisterhood. Despite a handful of inconsistencies, the film is a touching tale of friendship that pulls on the heartstrings.

Director: Tracy Choi, Au Kin-Yee (writer)
Stars: Gigi Leung, Jennifer Yu, Fish Liew
Runtime: 97 minutes
Country: Hong Kong, Macau

Film Rating: ★★★★☆

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