The Juniper Tree (1990)

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This stark black-and-white drama explores the vast territory of interpersonal pain in an unrelenting manner. It is a retelling of one of the stories from the "Grimm's Fairytales" about two sisters who have survived after their mother was burned as a witch. Told in a rigorous and challenging manner, the story focuses on the two sisters after their escape. The eldest sister has married a widowed man with a young son. The younger sister is a teenager and lives in the new household. The challenge of winning over her hostile young stepson eventually proves too much for the elder sister, and since the younger sister has been warning the boy that her sister is "a witch," it stands to reason that the whole situation quickly becomes very difficult indeed. Reviewers felt that this bleak story held rewards for the patient viewer because of the careful craftsmanship of the film though they warned that most casual viewers would find it immensely unappealing.

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