The paths of twin sisters, orphaned and separated as young girls, parallel as
the turn-of-the-century is rung in. The two women that once huddled together as
children in the public square, trying to keep each other warm, have led dramatically
different lives. One, a professional paramour and accomplished thief, the
other is a radical anarchist-feminist who is immersed in a plot to assassinate the
Minister of the Interior. Neither sister is aware of the other. A man who
desires Lili, the anarchist, encounters Dora, the temptress, believing her to be
Lili. He deduces the connection between the two women.
The film relies on a variety of surreal analogies to express the lost innocence
of a civilization on the verge of discovery. Thomas Edison is portrayed as a man who
is frustrated by the fact that people greet each new discovery and invention like
awestruck children, delighted with new toys. He imagines that he alone grasps the
significance of the inventions and the impact they will have on the future.
The black and white cinematography is excellent. The scene of Menlo Park,
in 1880, displaying Edison's new electric light bulbs is memorable. Polish
actress Dorothy Segda plays the dual roles of Lili and Dora, and also appears as their
mother. Director, Ildik Enyedi's won the Camera d'Or at Cannes (1989) for My
Twentieth Century, her first feature film.
"I have recently rewatched My Twentieth Century and was
wondering what people think about the film. I am having a difficult time interpreting the
film and any incites would be deeply appreciated. I am wondering about the use of
animals in the film. The chimp, the donkey, the dog, the dove (obvious). Also, the final
shot of the film, going down the river and opening up into the sea. Does anyone have
any thoughts on this? Thanks"
"As 2 passenger trains approach a station in ""The Kingdom of Hungary"" near midnight in 1899, their subsequent departure marks the separation of the old from the new, the 19th from the 20th century; their growing distance from
one another amid the strains of a tango tune (repeated later in the film) reflects the growing distance of the world that was from the world that is. Yet only one observer--Thomas
Edison-- recognizes the tragedy of a never-to-be-repeated juxtaposition. By the same token, on 31 December
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