Werner Schroeter (France/Germany/Portugal, 2002)
Isabelle Huppert delivers two of her greatest performances as a pair of twin sisters in Schroeter’s lunatic calling-out of a lifetime of love, heartbreak, madness, and death. Pacing through the atmospheric ruins of Marseilles and Sintra, two separated twin sisters abandoned by their mother (Bulle Ogier) are united by the reveries that haunt them, each less literal and more fantastical than the last; here scenes lead to hanged lovers, fox attacks, doll-ridden trees, strange cabarets, serial killers, the sea, ghostly castles, ghostlier sailors, and more. “The writer is a sorcerer,” says a character, and indeed Deux represents Schroeter’s most momentous, hypnotic, desperate spell cast against the chains and sorrows of reality. Many of Deux’s tales and visions are drawn directly from Schroeter’s life (specifically a lover’s suicide by hanging), lending a final line all the more poignancy. “My loved ones will have peace,” softly sings a voice, as this film of memories and phantoms fitfully ends.
• Written by Schroeter, Cédric Anger. Photographed by Elfi Mikesh. With Isabelle Huppert, Bulle Ogier, Arielle Dombasie, Annika Kuhl. (117 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Le Petit Bureau)