By William Stieglitz
Ward Melville High School
The independent film “Westwind,” written by Ilja Haller and Susann Schimk and directed by Robert Thalheim, is a story about teenage twin sisters Doreen and Isabel Zimmerman from East Germany one year before the fall of the Berlin Wall. While at a summer camp training for a sculling competition, they meet West Germans and date them.
While Isabel looks at this as a fun experience and then moves on, Doreen falls in love with her young man, Arne. The relationship is not an easy one because in her community there is no trust for West Germans. It means hiding the blossoming love affair from her twin who fears it will be found out. The consequences could mean loss of their opportunity for competition.
The relationship between the sisters is what drives the story. It is shown very well through their conversations, personalities, and subtle hints that not only do they share a strong bond, but they have each been there for each other their whole lives. The two of them experience everything together, whether intentional or not. They lift weights in the same rhythm, their legs move together in perfect synchrony when they run, and the sport that they compete in, sculling, I believe is meant to be symbolic of this bond since it is a sport that requires two people to move in harmony.
The plot turns on how they mature and separate with the added complication of Doreen’s boyfriend. Even though it adds to the tension that Arne is from West Germany, there would still be conflict if he were from an acceptable community. This is not simply a story of people from two different worlds meeting and falling in love, but a story of sisters struggling to maintain their bond while trying to gain their own lives.
Recommendations: This is a movie for viewers of all ages who can appreciate love between siblings and how difficult it can be to sustain it into adulthood. The subtitles are well-written and convey the emotions. Runtime is 89 minutes. The film made in 2011 had its U.S. premiere Thursday, July 26, 2012.