Virtual Cinema | France’s Pick for Oscar Consideration: “Two of Us” January 26, 2021
Two of Us, a remarkable story about an enduring love, is on the short list for Best International Feature at the 2021 Academy Awards.
Next-door neighbors Nina and Madeleine are a loving couple in their 70s. They spend days and nights together while they prepare to move from France to Rome with money from the sale of Madeleine’s apartment. Madeleine is a widow who has hidden the relationship from her adult children. When the women agree that it is time to reveal the truth, Madeleine doesn’t fulfill her promise to break the news at a birthday dinner. The story then takes an unexpected turn that further disrupts their plans.
First-Time Feature Filmmaker
Director Filippo Meneghetti’s two stars were interested early on, and he worked with screenwriter Malysone Bovorasmy to shape the roles. “I wanted Nina and Madeleine to be played by actresses who are comfortable with their age while exuding strength,” Meneghetti said. “I didn’t want audiences to perceive them as victims, but as heroines fighting for their love. The film tells the story of a struggle, the story of a passion that is as obstinate as it is affectionate.” Regarding the film’s style, he added, “I wanted to shoot this love story as if it were a thriller: an eye looking through a peephole, an intruder in the night ... The idea was to borrow from the codes of suspense, while reinterpreting them so they sit coherently with the universe of the film.”
The lead actresses are magnificent. Madeleine is played by French film and theater actress Martine Chevallier. Barbara Sukowa, who plays Nina, is a veteran German actress cast by Rainer Werner Fassbinder early in her career. A fixture of contemporary world cinema, Sukowa was most recently seen on screen at the MFAH in the 2012 biopic Hannah Arendt. Also memorable in key roles are Léa Drucker as Madeleine’s daughter, and Muriel Bénazéraf as an opportunistic caregiver.
More French Films Ahead
Following Two of Us, Virtual Cinema presents the French Film Festival from March 3 to 28, as the Museum participates in French Cultures Month.
Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation. Generous funding is provided by Nina and Michael Zilkha; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Lois Chiles Foundation; ILEX Foundation; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.