As foreign Oscar submissions start to roll out, France is sending Filippo Meneghetti’s feature debut “Two of Us” to the 93rd Academy Awards. This tale of a decades-long, secret lesbian romance will be distributed stateside on February 5 by Magnolia Pictures, which scooped it out of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Check out the exclusive to IndieWire trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Two retired women, Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier), have been secretly in love for decades. Everybody, including Madeleine’s family, thinks they are simply neighbors sharing the top floor of their building. They come and go between their two apartments, enjoying the affection and pleasures of daily life together, until an unforeseen event turns their relationship upside down and leads Madeleine’s daughter to gradually unravel the truth about them.”
This story of a pair of lovers in their 70s was inspired by Meneghetti’s own curiosities about his neighbors, two widows who kept their doors open and turned the landing between their apartments into one large unit that covered the whole floor.
Barbara Sukowa and Martine Chevallier are veteran actors. Sukowa is a former collaborator of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, having starred in Lola” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” but more recently earning acclaim for films like “Hannah Arendt,” “Gloria Bell,” “Native Son,” and the TV series “Servant.” Martine Chevallier, meanwhile, is best known for starring in the 2006 French thriller “Tell No One” from director Guillaume Canet.
“Two of Us” has been widely praised throughout its festival run, which has included London, Rio de Janeiro, Palm Springs, Rotterdam, Glasgow, Frameline, Montclair, and more.
Variety raved out of the Toronto International Film Festival last year, writing, “This often-moving film, which premiered as part of the 2019 Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery program, is an affirmation of our universal desire for emotional intimacy and how the right connection can overcome all social and physical limitations. The fact that the relationship is between two lesbians well into their retirement years only makes the film even more quietly groundbreaking. This is big-city art-house cinema all the way, not only for the subject matter but because its commendable lack of melodrama.”
France is always one to watch in the foreign Oscar race, with last year’s “Les Misérables” landing in the final five.