Lucienne in a World Without Solitude – France – 31 minutes
Lucienne (Stéphane Caillard) is part of a world where everything she does must be alongside her twin Emmanuelle. Not only her, but everyone we meet has a twin who does everything they do, same job, same shopping trip, same night out. To the point where if you are hurt, your twin must identically hurt themselves. This unsettling film is absolute perfection.
Before we even get into the story of Lucienne in a World Without Solitude, we must talk about the manages to pull off some fantastic technical filmmaking in its 30 or so minutes of runtime. Geordy Couturiau and his team have pulled a magnificent blinder to achieve that they have here. For example, there is a wonderful dolly shot of people roaming around the supermarket where Lucienne and Emmanuelle work. As we go by pairs of shoppers after one another you begin to realise how mammoth the planning of such a film was. It verges on absurd the more we see. Couturiau and editor Sanabel Cherqaoui have gone as ambitious as possible, and it has worked tenfold.
For a film with so many twins, you would think that the simple solution is just to hire multiple identical twins, right? Not so here, with there, in fact, only being two pairs at most (from what I could see in the credits), which considering the scope and length of the film, is unbelievable.
Caillard is haunting throughout Lucienne in a World Without Solitude, and you will be in desperate search of more of her work after this. She haunts you as someone who wants something more from her life, not to have to accept the life she has been given. She doesn’t want to fall in love with the same person her sister does; she wants to break out, but when the punishment is so strong to solitude people. Is the urge worth the risk? There is a great nuance to her work as both sisters; you can tell the one from the other just by the subtle movements in their bodies and quirks. She brings everything into the role and showcases just how intelligent she is as an actor that you never question; you merely watch in awe.
In the dystopian world that Cherqaoui has presented, he leaves us asking a mountain full of questions that he is not interested in answering. Is this happening in this town, France, or is the entire world like this now? What are the rules for this society? It seems as if their tolerance for solitude people is as thin as it comes with the repercussions of being caught without your twin as brutal as it is quick. You question if the use of a twin who will die is to keep everyone in line and that social justice is just a means to an end to ensure that citizens only ever toe the line. There is so much room for an idea like this to grow and be a series nevermind a feature that you almost applaud the restraint and boldness in Cherqaoui to keep his film as short as he does.
For the entire runtime of Lucienne in a World Without Solitude, you are taken in, and to be fair, this is a pretty straightforward tale. It just so happens that it is told in such a wonderfully dark and unforgiving manner. You are constantly unsettled by how perfectly run this society is. This is a film that stays with you. Usually, I would go on about how some shorts should be feature-length, and while I would love that for this film, in its current incarnation, it is faultless. You will watch this again and again.
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