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Directed by Ildikó Enyedi

Hungary, West Germany, Cuba 1989 102 mins.

Budapest, 1880: twins Lili and Dora are born, nearly simultaneously with Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb—a key piece of cinema history. This genesis moment for modernity provides the backdrop to Enyedi’s whimsical story of the two young women, who are split up at a young age after their mother’s death and take on entirely different life trajectories: Dora becomes a hedonistic courtesan, Lili a militant revolutionary. Operating in the same proximity, however, the two both become embroiled with the mysterious figure of Z, a man of shadowy history and even darker motives. Through luminous black-and-white photography and thickly surreal passages of pure imagination, Enyedi weaves an intoxicating tale, one that garnered her the Golden Camera award (best first feature) at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and helped put Hungary on the world cinema map.

Genres: Drama, Fantasy

Appears in: Essential Cinema