Published May 06, 2011In description, Invisible Strings sounds a bit like the story of Hilary and Jacqueline de Pré, seeing as it's about two sisters that play string instruments, one better than the other, leading to an imbalanced and quietly resentful, but still loving, relationship. But fortunately for them, the Pulker sisters have a far less dramatic and controversial life than the du Prés, struggling mainly with family secrets and their dynamics in the face of public scrutiny and greatness.
Younger sister Juli is a renowned violin soloist, met with cheers, bouquets of flowers and standing ovations whenever she performs, while older sister Ági sits in the chorus maintaining composure and a pleasant demeanour. Sós's documentation scrutinizes these moments, capturing Juli's bashful pride and innocence, while Ági, who is naturally quite expressive, pastes a plaintive smile on her face, clearly masking a plethora of complex emotions and thoughts.
It's this voyeuristic and candid observation of unarticulated feelings that propels this Hungarian documentary, giving soul to the many protracted musical performances, on stage and in practice. Candid interviews with the girls expand on their perception of one another, with Juli commenting on her older sister's self-deprecating disposition and Ági struggling self-consciously with a jealously of which she is embarrassed.
Unfortunately, these many fantastic moments never quite gel into a cohesive whole. Performances and interviews often pop up without context, having no organic flow, leaving the viewer scrambling to figure out where reactions are coming from and where we are in relation to the timeline. There also isn't quite enough story or material to justify a feature-length documentary, making for a lot of repetition and superfluous footage.
Regardless, there is a universally human connectivity captured that expands upon the intricate nature of familial selflessness in relation to individual ego. (HBO Central Europe)