“I wanted to do this project for a long time, I had this story in mind for years and years,” says director Filippo Meneghetti about Two of Us, France’s Oscar entry this year, adding that he also spent an additional five years writing the screenplay with his co-writer Malysone Bovorasmy.
The story’s dynamic, which sees two pensioners living opposite each other who have a long-time lesbian love affair that they keep secret, was inspired by two couples. “One was two important people in my own life who were very close to me, and the others were two women I never actually met – they were the neighbors of a friend of mine who became widows at the same time and they shared a landing opposite their apartments,” Meneghetti says during Deadline’s Contenders International awards-season event. “When I went to visit I heard them speaking to each other and right there it clicked — I found the right angle for the story I wanted to tell.”
The director adds that he grew up watching the films of Barbara Sukowa, who plays one of the two women, and he was thrilled to secure her for the role.
“It was a very good script,” says Sukowa, who was also on the virtual panel. “I had never read this story before. I’d seen films about young, beautiful lesbian women, which sometimes have a ‘turning on’ quality for men, and I was fascinated that this was a story about two older lesbians. I said yes very quickly.”
The actress adds that, when the film came out, she was surprised that the audience for the film skewed primarily to younger people.
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