Contemporary World Cinema

Miami

Zaida Bergroth

Miami 01

A sheltered young woman is unexpectedly reunited with her estranged exotic-dancer sister, in Finnish director Zaida Bergroth’s affecting story of a dysfunctional family struggling to reforge their old bond.

Raised by her cautious single father, Anna approaches life with fear and uncertainty, and his recent death exacerbates her anxieties. Estranged sister Angela is Anna's exact opposite: an exotic dancer who travels from one seedy dump to the next, making money on the side by blackmailing her more vigorous patrons. When they reconnect, Angela is arguing with the rest of her troupe and is forced to ask her sister for help. As both soon discover, risk-averse Anna may have worse instincts than her sister.

One of Finland's most intriguing young filmmakers, Zaida Bergroth (The Good Son, Last Cowboy Standing) consistently explores dysfunctional families struggling to find peace and stability. The sisters in Miami desperately need one another's companionship but also bring out the worst in each other. Their new-found bond is threatened by old antagonisms, slights, and natural rivalries — distracting them as they finally push things too far.

Set against the garish backdrop of a black market, Miami is an affecting, memorable piece, a kind of distaff version of You Can Count on Me where a rediscovered relationship both parties need may have come too late to do either any good. And it's anchored by two pitch-perfect performances: Krista Kosonen as Angela and newcomer Sonja Kuittinen as Anna, whose alternating admiration for — and outrage with — her sister imbues the movie with a curiously realistic suspense.

STEVE GRAVESTOCK

location_on Scotiabank 9

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