The silent twins

The silent twins
Original title:The silent twins
Director:Agnieszka Smoczyńska
Running time:113 minutes
Release date:16 september 2022
Feeling isolated from this unwelcoming community, June and Jennifer Gibbons withdraw into themselves and reject communication with anyone but each other, retreating into their own imaginary world of artistic inspiration and adolescent desires. After a series of acts of vandalism inspired by an American boy they both idolize, the girls, now teenagers, are summarily sentenced to Broadmoor Hospital, an infamous mental hospital, where they must make the choice to separate and survive or die together.

Mulder's Review

Certainly, this year the American film festival of Deauville in the absence of the presence of many Hollywood stars will have allowed us to discover good independent films like the new film of director Agnieszka Smoczyńska (The Lure (2015), Fugue (208)).

Based on the book of the same name by Marjorie Wallace, The silent twins follows the journey of twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons who are disconnected from the real world by refusing to talk to those around them but also by inventing their own world by writing narratives and making characters by hand. After a series of acts of vandalism, they are committed to Broadmoor Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, where they must make the choice to separate and survive or die together. 

This film based on the relationship between two twins is certainly a dramatic story with many scenes tinged with real sadness, but it is above all a film about communication and the fact of wanting to get out of a suffocating conformism in which everything must look the same and obey preestablished rules. If the two twins don't speak anymore, it's their way of rebelling against a world in which they don't find their place. Their story has already been adapted as a TV movie for the BBC and as a play, Speechless (2011). The film here allows us to learn more and covers a long period between the age of the twins of 8 years to their adulthood and the death of one of them. 

Director Agnieszka Smoczyńska seems clearly more interested in the period of the twins' adolescence, which characterizes most of the film. Between keeping their diaries, their first poems and stories that they act out, The silent twins proves fascinating for this study of an imaginary world and its importance in creating a real balance in the lives of these two twins.

When the two sisters are separated, the film becomes much more violent and shows a real despair of these young teenagers who only conceive life by being together and sharing everything including their first lover, a young American passing through their town. The great care taken with the photography and the use of certain colors easily reinforces the framework of the film and creates a certain fascination for these two twins who have the courage to remain whole in their revolt.

The film is also embellished with scenes with puppets shot in stop-motion and bringing to the film an undeniable charm. The originality that emerges from this film supported by the remarkable performance of the two young actresses Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance make The silent twins a film to discover if possible in a cinema (no date announced for the moment for a release in France).

The silent twins
Directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska
Produced by Klaudia Smieja-Rostworowska, Ewa Puszczyńska, Ben Pugh, Joshua Horsfield, Anita Gou, Alicia van Couvering, Letitia Wright 
Written by Andrea Seigel
Based on The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace
Starring Letitia Wright, Tamara Lawrance, Nadine Marshall
Music by NC
Cinematography : Jakub Kijowski
Edited by Agnieszka Glinska
Production companies : Madants, Extreme Emotions, 42, 30WEST, Canal+, Kindred Spirit, Polish Film Institute, Cofiloisir
Distributed by Focus Features (United States), Universal Pictures (International)
Release date : May 24, 2022 (Cannes), September 16, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 113 minutes

Seen on September 7, 2022 at the Deauville international center

Mulder's Mark: