Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Pact of Silence

(Le pacte du silence, France, 2003)

Gérard Depardieu is a priest/doctor in Brazil, trying to treat a nun who is having all sorts of problems. It’s tough, because the order forbids taking any kind of medicine. He learns she has a twin sister, both played by Élodie Bouchez. He goes back to France and learns that the sister is in jail for suffocating an infant when she was twelve. Then it starts to get weird. Separated by thousands of miles, the twins seem have something called symmetry, where each suffers from whatever the other is suffering. The other twin is paroled, and the priest falls in love with her. They return to Brazil. (There’s a lot of other things going on that I won’t get into.)

Now, I was pretty sure early on that the twin in jail didn’t kill the child, but I wondered why she was serving the time. Apparently she confessed to it. But the upshot of all this is that the twins get together, the priest learns who really killed the child, and why one went to prison and the other into a convent. Then one of the twins grabs the other and they fall off a three-story roof. One is on the bottom, and dies, one is on the top, and lives. But which one? We see a few years on, when the priest and the survivor are raising a family, so the priest, at least, is happy with the one he has. Lee and I discussed it, and concluded there was no way to tell for sure who lived and who died. And I think that was the intention of the writer and director. Does it matter? Not to the priest, it seems, and I think he himself may not be sure which one he married. It’s a conundrum, and in the end not very satisfying as a story.