Imaginative and poignant, Twin Flower unites two young people despite differences of language (Italian and French) and background. Anna (Anastasyia Bogach) is fleeing a traumatic experience and its cause – people-trafficker Manfredi (Aniello Arena) – through a magnificent Sardinian landscape. Undocumented Basim (Kalilil Khone) from Ivory Coast stands up for her against young thugs and she comes to trust him; but Anna remains mute throughout from what she has been through. The full horror of her trial unfolds gradually in flashback.
Both Anna and Basim have lost the innocence of their 16 years. And while Anna can get work selling her labour, Basim can only sell his body. The pair comfort and give each other strength, though their relationship is tested by what Basim has to do. However, they are firm friends, becoming firmer against the vicissitudes they face. They are coming to understand and love each other.
Director Laura Luchetti also wrote the screenplay, catching the mood and tenor of these young people’s stressed lives excellently. She persuades us, rightly, to empathise precisely with these characters’ plight and sets it within a wider context that implicitly challenges stereotype and cliche, including about migration, whether documented or not.
On a final note of veracity, both Bogach and Khone experienced perilous journeys in leaving their birthplaces: Bogach was transported in a van from Ukraine when she was four and Khone crossed the Mediterranean from Libya only a couple of months before filming. Amazingly, these are their first acting roles.
Twin Flower screened at the London Film Festival on 11 & 12 October 2018.