Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

'My Sister', Falters on Delicate Subject

Cleveland Press 1967

As a subject for drama incest has been sparingly used, but it has figured in dramatic literature from Sophocles to O'Neil.

Now a motion picture tackles the touchy topic but with only partial success. It is not the sordidness of the theme itself but the sordidness of parallel actions that destroys whatever artistic integrity the work might have had.

Director-writer Vilgot Sjoman, in an apparent attempt to lessen the shock, has set the action in another period. It is played out against an 18th Century background and among the aristocracy -- everyone knows how those nobles acted!

Bibi Andersson and Per Oscarsson are superb as the sister and brother involved in a turbulent relationship. Director Sjoman is at his best in depicting the alternating hate and love between these two and he has been relatively circumspect in portraying the physical relationship .

NOT SO WITH other relationships however. Overly candid, certainly well beyond the bounds of good taste are some of the scenes between the brother and other women in his life, the sister and her husband (Karl Julle), and scenes about a decadent noble involved in a subplot.

The canvas is too broad, the characters too involved, the scene too cluttered to allow the tragedy to develop in a logical and headlong pace.

When the climax comes it is bizarre and visually shocking, but not moving.