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USA, 1999 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Michael Polish

A methodically crafted yet magically realised feature debut which, although officially credited to Michael Polish, is enough of a joint effort to be billed as a Polish brothers film. Michael's identical twin sibling, Mark, co-scripted this Sundance triumph and stars alongside him as his conjoined leading man.

A fascinating study, worthy of David Lynch in his The Elephant Man (1980) days Twin Falls Idaho looks at an unlikely and unconventional romance between an escort service girl and 'client/s', who happen to be Siamese Twin brothers Blake and Francis Falls. As enig­matic as their appearance, the Falls have achieved a bond and level of communication of extraordinary rarity. Only the merest glimpses are given of their past, hints of a carnival sideshow existence that left them hollow and ridiculed. Francis, with missing vital organs, is the sick­lier of the two; Blake has the wit and charm. Despite their past, the pair are gentle, exceedingly kind men.

The brothers venture into the city in search of the mother that abandoned them at birth. Exploring a life of semi-normality they have never known, lodged in a run­down hotel, the Falls come across Penny, a hooker low on cash with tragedy in her own past. Initially spooked by the brothers, she becomes intrigued and eventually falls in love with Blake.

At once a drama and a delicate fairy tale, Twin Falls Idaho is mounted in modest fashion, relying on letter perfect performances and a phenomenal script to convey its message of love and hope. Mysteriously lit and pho­tographed, the film exists in a timeless world where spir­it has overcome loneliness. A unique experience.

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