Clip Show: From 'The Double Hour'

Originally published on April 11, 2011 12:39 pm

The Double Hour, a slowly unfolding mystery from first-time feature director Giuseppe Capotondi, was a hit at the Venice Film Festival in 2009, earning Best Actress honors for Russian actress Kseniya Rappoportis. We thought we'd give you a peek at her, and at the film, in advance of its April 15 U.S. opening.

Rappoportis plays Sonia, a Slovenian hotel maid in Italy who falls for an ex-cop (Filippo Timi) during an evening of speed-dating, only to become involved in a robbery and murder while on romantic getaway with him.

The simple teaser of a scene below seems straightforward enough on the surface: Sonia is making up rooms with her friend and coworker Margherita (Antonia Truppo) when a hotel regular passes by, making small talk with Margherita and leering at Sonia. He walks away, and the two have a giggle at his expense.

But given the reputation the film has earned for surprising twists and no-one-is-who-they-seem subterfuge, might there be more going on here?

Margherita's half-joking aside about Bruno carrying his dead wife in his suitcase may be too obvious a cue, and perhaps just a quick shorthand to establish him as a creep — which he quickly confirms in action.

But there's also something interesting going on in his introduction to Sonia. She seems momentarily flustered. And is that a hint of recognition in her glance before she hurries back to the room?

Meanwhile, Bruno seems suddenly more interested in studying his tie than in making eye contact with her, before he strolls off down the long, coldly lit hallway — a hallway that one might easily imagine giving way to sterile Kubrickian menace given different context.

It's just the tiniest peek into this film, but it demonstrates how the wisp of a glance or a gesture can potentially mean a great deal in a story where motivations and characters are slowly shifting question marks.

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