Gemini are the ultimate symbols of duality and are usually found in different genres of movies – thriller and comedy. Wouldn't it be funny – or wouldn't it be scary – if there were more than one of "you"?
Twins and other multiples are certainly individuals, but part of their appeal is that they are "equal".* * In the minds of non-twins, it is fascinating to watch their behavior. In film, twins are the most fertile creative ground for thrillers because they delve deep into the ego's fantasies and fears of multiplication – limitless possibilities meet the destruction of the self. But the psychological and emotional connection that is said to be shared by twins may have something to say about how we are all somehow connected.
Dead Ringers (1988) Dir. David Cronenberg
The psychological thriller classic plays Jeremy Irons as both the extroverted Elliot Mantle and the more introverted and emotional Beverly Mantle. The identical twins work as leading gynecologists who specialize in fertility. The heart of their connection is synchronicity; There is no experience for them until they each have had it or one has told the other about it. As such, they share everything from their living space to their work area and their wives.
One woman, Claire Level, is a well-known actress who comes to her clinic because she is dying to get pregnant. The coats discover a rare mutation in their uterus that makes conception impossible. Seized by her beauty and mysterious nature, Elliot woos her and eventually embeds her. The more shy Beverly will "try them" next time, while Claire doesn't know that she is sleeping with twins. Elliot believes she only uses them to keep a prescription drug habit going. Beverly and Claire begin to develop a real emotional bond, and he starts taking pills with Claire. A friend points out to Claire that the coats are identical twins. Angry, Claire confronts her and breaks everything off.
Beverly falls apart emotionally and continues to take pills. He and Claire meet again just as Elliot is planning to expand her work in another city. This would leave addict Beverly more responsibility in the clinic. As their love deepens, Beverly starts having nightmares about Claire separating him from Elliot. Called up to make a movie, Claire leaves Beverly alone, physically and emotionally. Elliot, who has so vigorously defended their connection throughout the film, returns to take care of Beverly. When trying to re-sync with his brother, Elliot mirrors Beverly's drug habit until he becomes addicted too.
Beverly almost kills a woman because it's high during her surgery. Elliot comes in to his brother's defense by impersonating himself on the board's subsequent review. The act fails and the doctors lose their clout and their practice. Before what they consider to be an inevitable breakup, they talk about it Cheng and EngSiamese twins who were separated by death. Beverly kills Elliot, makes a silent phone call to Claire, and then commits suicide, ending up slumped over his brother's body.
Incendies (2010) Dir. Denis Villeneuve
Nawal Marwan is dead. Her will makes two intense demands on her adult fraternal twins, Jeanne and Simon: They can only be properly buried when they bring the father a letter they have never met and another letter to the brother, that they didn't know they had. The twins quarrel and Simon refuses to respond to another request from their "crazy" mother. He is determined to stay behind in Toronto. Jeanne, a brilliant math student, sees an inevitable consequence in her situation and decides to look for her father first. She is sure that her twin will follow.
Nawal's past is closely linked to Jeanne's journey into the present. Nawal fell in love and became pregnant by a man her family disapproved of. They killed him and Nawal was spared death by honor killing if she abandoned the baby and went to town for an education. She gave birth to a boy who was immediately taken to an orphanage. When Nawal was at university and war broke out in the remote region she was from, she was devastated to find the orphanage had been destroyed.
Jeanne returns to the nameless Middle Eastern country where her mother grew up. Her mother's name evokes loving and unsavory responses from those she meets when she traces her mother's life. Together with Jeanne, we learn that Nawal committed a murder a few years later. She was taken to the infamous Kfar Ryat Prison, where she was raped by a torturer named Abou Tareq, which resulted in the twins.
Mourning the story of her mother and the rape she suffered, Jeanne urges Simon to join her in finding her lost brother. Her mother's notary public uses his regional connections to help Simon discover that her brother is a man known as Nihad de May.
The search for Nihad leads to a dangerous militant who tells Simon that Nihad was actually saved from the destruction of the orphanage. He was a child soldier and later a prolific marksman. The traumas of war and recruitment by an opposing faction made Nihad de May a torturer in Kfar Ryat prison. There he became Abou Tareq, who now lives in Toronto.
When Jeanne and Simon realize that their half-brother is also their father, they now understand that the letters are meant for the same man. They find him on his return to Canada and deliver the letters without saying a word. The letter to the father is contemptuous and defiant. The letter to the brother is loving and merciful.
Twins in the film represent the idea of having more than one attitude towards life, of doing something or of being in more than one place at the same time. Freud's essay on "the scary"(1919), Otto Rang's theory of"The lookalike”(1971), Hillel Schwarz Culture of copy (1996)), and some Twin Psychology Studies assume that a Gemini is a selfish protection from death. Essentially, glory and tribulation resides in the thought that "there is more than one of me". People who are identical or strongly similar to one another introduce an urge in non-twins to treat them as the same, since their appearance can influence assumptions about their actions, personalities, desires, and even thoughts. Of a Jungian perspectiveA twin can be a vehicle for the shadow self – the suppressed self, the taboo / opposite – that does what "we" or the primary twin do not (see also) doppelganger).
Dead wrestlers and Incendies Take two different and powerful approaches to the double connection idea. The Mantle Twins are linked by their deductibles as two people who live essentially the same life. It's interesting, but not surprising, that they specialize in fertility. They make women's bodies a central focus of their work, but their detached approach seems to confirm belief in self-replication versus conception – that humans can duplicate themselves just as much you seem to have been born out of nowhere – we never see their parents or hear her mother mentioned. The arrival of the mother / lover figure in the form of Claire triggers the individuation process they never had, leading to an ego death spiral from which the twins cannot withdraw due to the drugs and emotions. It is impossible to imagine a world in which they are not connected.
Where the coats have a toxic, personal partnership, the Marwan twins bond through a sense of interpersonal responsibility on the way to wholeness. They are linked by their history and the doomed roles of their mother and father. They adopt an interpretation of the aftermath of the war and the way personal stories must be carried or erased as a result. It so often happens that brothers and fathers are lost to war, and mothers and sisters are left to mourn.
Fraternal or identical, twin characters in the film can be used to examine self-development and how much we can put our stories and fantasies before life in the present. In the end, many of us want someone who knows us better than anyone else. the one who shares a thought, a breath, a moment, a story, a future.
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About Celeste Ramos
Celeste Ramos is a Raindance member and fiction, short film and poetry writer based in New York City. She lives in London and studies symbology and art between watching movies.