Opening 18 Jan 2018
Chloé (Vacth) is a beautiful 25-year-old woman in Paris, who suffers from depression and other ailments. Psychoanalyst Paul Meyer (Renier) begins treatment after other doctors surmise that it is all in her imagination. Chloé’s health improves and the two fall in love; this opens a new kind of intimate relationship but ends medical treatment with Paul. Chloé, looking for a new therapist, runs into a man who seems very similar to Paul. So similar, that she suspects that Paul is involved in other relationships. He denies it. She begins therapy with the new man, who, we learn, is Paul’s evil twin brother Louis Delord. This situation throws her into all kinds of mental breakdowns, suspicions, insecurities and false decisions until she believes that she also has a twin, unborn, in her own uterus.
Based on the book Lives of the Twins (1987) by Rosamond Smith, which is a pseudonym for Joyce Carol Oates, L’amand Double was in competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It showed at the Filmfest Hamburg the same year and director François Ozon was present with actor Jérémie Renier (who plays both Paul and Louis) for Q & A. Ozon said he always thought this original book would be a good idea for a film. A member of the Hamburg audience said that he was a psychoanalyst, but had never had an affair with a patient, inferring that the story was not based on reality. Ozon said, “Germans don’t like to talk about sex; they like sex, but they are not as good at it as the French.” Ozon suggested that the viewer can become the analysist and identify Chloe’s problems. A viewer asked, “Is there really a Louis?” Ozon: “What do you think?”
This film stretches the limits of filmed sexual scenes almost into soft-porn. Repeated desperate fits of depression are not entertaining. The highlight is the excellent photography by Manuel Dacosse. Ozon has presented films at the Filmfest Hamburg several times and received the festival’s Douglas Sirk award in 2004. Let’s look forward to his next, perhaps more encouraging, film. (Becky Tan)