FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

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Hermann Hermann, the mentally unbalanced protagonist of Despair, believes he has stumbled across the perfect crime the day he believes he has stumbled across his perfect double. Your choices, then, for what we'll be screening on Tuesday 9 April are out of three films which also rely on doubles as important narrative devices. Your choices, then, for what we'll be screening on Tuesday 9 April are out of three films which also rely on doubles as important narrative devices. Up for the vote are:

The Great Dictator (Charlie Chaplin, USA, 1940)

"Like all major Chaplin works, Dictator was a cheaply, but methodically, made film, a cardboard act of humanist defiance, and, thanks to its purity of purpose, the cheesier the jokes get, the harder they land." Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

A Jewish barber and WWI veteran (Charles Chaplin) spends years convalescing in an army hospital, unaware of the simultaneous rise of anti-Semitic fascist dictator (and his double) Adenoid Hynkel (and also Chaplin). When the barber returns home it’s only a matter of time before a case (or cases) of mistaken identity (or identities) looms (or loom) for both. Chaplin's first talkie was made while the USA was still at peace with Nazi Germany, and his broad-but-scathing satire of said regime is as controversial today as it was at time.

Lost Highway (David Lynch, USA, 1997)

"Lynch folds his story in on itself with a mid-point transformation that follows an atmospheric, rather than plot-driven, line of logic ... This is cinema as art, as Lynch challenges expectations of identity and reality." Empire Magazine

In a city suspiciously like Los Angeles, a jazz musician (Bill Pullman) is tortured by the notion that his wife (Patricia Arquette) is having an affair. In a parallel story, a young mechanic is drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress (again, Patricia Arquette) who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend (Robert Loggia). These two tales are linked by the fact that both women (both Patricia Arquette) may, in fact, be the same woman (again, Patricia Arquette). The men are also connected by a mysterious turn of events that calls into question their very identities.


Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1940)

"One of the landmarks -- not merely of the movies, but of 20th-century art." Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

James Stewart stars as John "Scottie" Ferguson: an acrophobic ex-San Francisco police detective who suffers from severe acrophobia. When an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie asking him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak) who he fears may have been possessed by a dead ancestor who committed suicide and may follow suite. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees to the assignment after he sees the beautiful Madeleine. Needless to say, things are not quite what they seem... Dismissed by critics at the time of its release, Vertigo is now widely considered Hitchcock's masterpiece and one of the greatest movies ever made. And trust us, it does feature a double (or does it?).