Thanks to the fine folks at Film Movement, every few months or so, a quiet, unassuming foreign film finds its way into the recesses of my brain, latches on and never lets go. The Australian film Little Sparrows is such a film.
A family-driven drama about three sisters and their ailing mother, it’s short, achingly sweet and darn near perfect. The performances are controlled, calculated and nary a flaw; the screenplay is taut and fraught with emotion and the panning camera work accentuate a film that is a true treasure to behold.
At the center is Susan (Nicola Bartlett), a calm and self-assured matriarch who has come to terms with her breast cancer. She is surrounded by her vacant husband James (James Hagan) and her three daughters: Nina (Nina Deasley), Anna (Melanie Munt) and Christine (Arielle Gray).
Each of the daughters is staring down their own pain. For Nina it’s finding comfort in being a widow and raising two young children; for Anna it’s making sense of her marriage and her acts of infidelity; and for Christine, it’s coming to terms with her sexuality.
In their hospital visits with Susan, each of the three daughters is able to gain perspective and comfort in facing their adversity. And it is in these quiet bedside moments with Susan that Little Sparrows finds its way home. Indelible, exquisitely acted and deeply affecting, it’s everything that is right about cinema.