This film was a nominee for the Palme D’Or award at the Cannes Festival earlier in the year. Its trailer won a special award for best thriller trailer of the year and you can see it by clicking below. It is directed by Francois Ozon, who also wrote the screenplay, loosely basing it on the novel Lives of the Twins, by Joyce Carol Oates. He is known for 8 Women and Swimming Pool and we showed Potiche in 2010.
Chloé (Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie muse Marine Vacth) visits psychologist Paul (Jérémie Renier) for treatment of psychosomatic aches. She falls in love with him, but shortly after they move in together she discovers that he has an identical twin, Louis, also a therapist. Tellingly, while there is a neat symmetry to Chloé’s therapy sessions with Paul, in Louis’s consulting room, they are never in focus at the same time. Their inevitable affair – a power struggle between the sheets – allows Chloé to explore elements of her sexuality that had hitherto lain dormant. Dualities run through the film, both thematically and visually: good and bad, sub and dom, black and white. Ozon splits his screen using mirrors and reflections, and hides ‘twins’ – both in the frame (pairs of orchid stems, a double lamp) and in the story (two cats have key roles).
The film nods to Hitchcock in everything from the score to the use of a Vertigo-style spiral staircase, which tips us off-balance. And, in the body horror and the twin-fetish plotline, there is an obvious debt to David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers. But the skin-tingling subversion of the erotic thriller premise is all Ozon. It surely isn’t intended to be taken entirely seriously. Its approach to psychoanalysis is straight from the 1950s Hollywood playbook. The treatment of the “double” is also highly stylised. Ozon is trying to provoke and tantalise us. He throws in lots of high-minded medical jargon about the secret language of twins and takes every opportunity he can to include melodramatic plot twists. This is a playful and stylish pastiche of the Fatal Attraction-style potboiler. Ozon is an effective enough filmmaker to send up conventions of such films even as he seems to endorse them.
Click below for review, trailer and further information.
Venue: William Loveless Hall