Review: ‘Give Me Your Hand’

Identical twin brothers alternately embrace and attack each other across France in tyro helmer Pascal-Alex Vincent's humorless, two-note road movie.

Identical twin brothers alternately embrace and attack each other across France in tyro helmer Pascal-Alex Vincent’s humorless, two-note road movie, “Give Me Your Hand.” Opening with a brief Japanese-style cartoon sequence, Vincent adopts anime’s penchant for making emotion resonate through landscapes rather than relatively inexpressive human figures: The wooden lead duo make the taciturn stars of “Two-Lane Blacktop” (the pic’s obvious template) look positively hammy. But the bros are built, and “Hand,” with its gorgeous shots of mist-shrouded woods and sun-burnished hay, plus a brief but rapturous foray into gay sex, may attract queer auds for distrib Strand Releasing.

Eighteen-year-old Antoine (Alexandre Carril) and twin Quentin (Victor Carril) are almost indistinguishable (one draws, the other plays a jew’s-harp and sports an ersatz eyebrow scar). They walk, hitch and ride the rails to Spain to attend the funeral of the mother they never knew, and rarely speak, except when engaging with the slightly more colorful people they encounter along the way, who trigger in them either shared alienation or intense rivalry.

In an oversimplified lift from “Two-Lane Blacktop,” Antoine (supposedly the outgoing social one) sleeps with Clementine (Anais Demoustier), a girl with whom Quentin has started to bond. Quentin broods a bit, stirring up long-simmering resentments, and beats up his bro. But, during a brief farming gig, Quentin’s tryst with fellow hay-baler Hakim (Samir Harrag) leads a jealous Antoine to play a dirty trick on his brother, who inexplicably disappears.

Antoine’s increasingly distraught search for his other half furnishes the pic’s only dramatic moments, fittingly backdropped by a primeval forest straight out of Grimm.

If the humans in the twins’ cross-country odyssey never fully come alive, the same cannot be said of the natural vistas through which they pass, from the dark, moon-dappled river in which Hakim and Quentin splash in gleeful foreplay, to the farm’s Breugelesque haystacks and textured woodpiles.

Similarly, though the brothers’ thespian interactions remain unremittingly blocky, Vincent and lenser Alexis Kavyrchine brilliantly exploit the mirror effect of the twins as they lie asleep facing each other within the confines of a huge industrial pipe or stride through lush prairies in matching silhouettes.

Give Me Your Hand



A Strand Releasing (in U.S.) release of a Local Films production, in co-production with Adam Prods./Busse & Halberschmidt Filmproduktion. (International sales: Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Nicolas Breviere, Markus Halberschmidt, Marcelo Busse. Directed by Pascal-Alex Vincent. Screenplay, Vincent, Martin Druout; story, Olivier Nicklaus, Vincent.


Camera (color, widescreen), Alexis Kavyrchine; editor, Dominique Petrot; music, Bernd Jestram, Ronald Lippock; animation, 2 Minutes, Trickstudio Lutterbeck; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS), Xavier Thibault, Laurent Benaim. Reviewed at Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 18, 2009. (In New Directors/New Films, New York.) Running time: 77 MIN.


Alexandre Carril, Victor Carril, Anais Demoustier, Samir Harrag, Katrin Sass, Maya Borker.
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