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Review: Twin Sisters – Tvillingsøstrene (2013)

Directed by: | 58 minutes |

‘Twin Sisters’, a documentary by Norwegian director Mona Friss Bertheusen, won Audience Awards at the IDFA 2013 and the Gothenburg International Festival 2014. This moving and moving product has rightly been added to the DVD label IDFA’s Delicatessen, masterpieces not to be missed, that place the world around us in a completely different light.

Chinese twin sisters Mia and Alexandra are found as babies in a cardboard box in 2003. They end up in an orphanage and are put up for adoption. This is where the story begins. A bizarre story, told from the perspective of their new parents. By coincidence these parents, Wenche and Sigmund from the Norwegian village of Fresvik and Angela and Andy from the metropolitan Sacramento in America, discover that their adopted children are very similar. During the transfer in China, they ask questions about this, but they receive a negative answer from those responsible. Once at home, a DNA test provides clarity: Mia and Alexandra are indeed twin sisters.

We see how the cute girls grow up completely different in a completely different setting. One, Mia, lives a luxurious life in the big city of Sacramento (, violin lessons, boy scouts, expensive toys) and the other, Alexandra, in a tiny village (234 inhabitants) in Norway. Mia has a busy social life, her parents drive her from place to place. This is in great contrast to Alexandra, who lives somewhere where there is almost nothing to do. Fresvik has a grocery store and a school, that’s where it ends. Nevertheless, the two girls appear to resemble each other from the very beginning, despite the language barrier and the different environment / upbringing.

Alexandra asks questions about her sister very early on. She would like (gasp) for Mia to come and live with her. When Alexandra is six years old, she makes the first crossing to her sister in distant America. In their mannerisms and the ‘pure’ way of feeling each other, the innate kinship appears. Presents and letters are sent back and forth and they call each other on birthdays. Two years later, Mia’s return visit follows. The deep connection is further reinforced by this visit. Swimming together, together – without parents (!) – cycling in nature and tinkering with each other’s hair. What characterizes them according to the parents is an extroverted character and willpower. After this visit, the Pacific Ocean-separated twins stay in weekly contact and celebrate a Christmas together.

Alexandra who says that she and Mia “would be the best sisters in the world, if only they lived together.” The parents speak of predestination. It had to be that way. How the twins will end? Mona Friss Bertheusen has promised to keep a close eye on developments. Until then, ‘my bonny over the ocean’ remains for both girls. Unfortunately. Hopefully to be continued. It is not up to the adoptive parents, but you give these girls their own place with the two of you.

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