Two teenage runaways who are haunted by their pasts take a dangerous journey of survival through Southern Italy in director Laura Luchetti’s “Twin Flower”, a dark coming-of-age drama.
Anna (Anastasiya Bogach) is eluding a human trafficker for whom her father worked, and Basim (Kallil Kone) is a refugee from the Ivory Coast in search of gainful employment. They team up and embark on a dangerous trip across the tough terrain of Sardinia in the hopes of overcoming their personal demons.
The film unfolds like a dark fairy tale. Both young people are being hunted, but for different reasons. The relationship between the two teens develops slowly and poignantly in the face of dangers. “Twin Flower” creates its own world connected to but somehow apart from any political issues. Long passages take place in silence, questions go unanswered, people watch each other carefully, and the landscape is filled with beauty and menace as the two pass through. Little by little, flashbacks shed light on Anna’s showdown with a sinister a psychopath pursuer who is now on Anna’s trail. Basim tries to protect Anna and survive in a strange land as he faces racism and something even darker.
The film is artistically and beautifully shot and scored, and above all else it has intense emotional power. We want a better fate for the lonely and troubled teens. We feel real despair at the shadows falling across the possibility of a better fate.
Anna and Basim are similar: they are both fragile teens brought together by chance and stronger as companions in navigating the world. Anna is left dumbstruck by an unseen traumatic event, with the film opening on her fleeing Manfredi, her pursuer. Despite operating as a mute, she has better success securing gainful employment than Basim, whose lack of paperwork leads him to poor pay his way through late-night prostitution. Anna’s silence can vex, but the strongest scenes revolve around the pair quietly exploring the locales of their hideouts without the need for words.
In today’s world, we live with anxieties about “the other”. People borders and arrive in other countries carrying little beyond the clothes on their back and a frightened expression. They are being refused, persecuted, and reviled. Many don’t care where they came from, only that they go. For those who are “others:, the film gives them a short moment of grace.
There is remarkable chemistry between Bogach and Kon who are both nonprofessional actors. They carry this powerful film about coming of age in the throes of the refugee crisis.
“Twin Flower” is “pure, uncut empathy for unempathetic times.” We see what it takes to survive while seeking salvation, and how much of ourselves we need divest. Do we really know who we are and what we’re capable of? What are we really prepared to do to stay sheltered, stay fed, and stay safe?
This is a quiet movie that “wants to grant religious rites to those in deepest need: it wants to hear their confessions, and baptize them from sin. In an age where so many offer people like Anna and Basim no quarter, offering them full communion is a revolutionary act.”
We see how tiny offerings can have great meaning, and how sex can be both vice full and consolatory. We understand that distrust can creep in quickly…but so can joy. We are reminded of how easy it is for any of us to find ourselves in the “other’s” shoes.
- Bonus Short Film – “Cerdita” (Written and directed by Carlota Pereda | Spain | 15 minutes | Spanish with English subtitles) — Sara is mercilessly bullied by her peers for being overweight but a turn of events will soon change everyone’s fates in a most alarming fashion.
About Film Movement
Founded in 2002, Film Movement is a North American distributor of award-winning independent and foreign films based in New York City. It has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide. Film Movement’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign art house titles. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. In 2015, Film Movement launched its reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, Arturo Ripstein, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com. Visit www.filmmovementplus.com for more information about Film Movement Plus, the new subscription streaming service from Film Movement.