Film Comment magazine resurrects the lost art of the double feature with monthly pairings of cinematic classics, cult and otherwise.

Villa Amalia
Benoît Jacquot | France | 2009 | 35mm | 94m

Ann (Isabelle Huppert) is a musician and composer who sees her longtime partner, Thomas (Xavier Beauvois), in the arms of another woman. Suddenly everything that seemed fixed and certain in her life disappears. She leaves Paris and eventually makes her way to Ischia, off the coast of Naples, to an old house known as the Villa Amalia, where she is quite literally rescued by Giulia (Maya Sansa). Jacquot perfectly captures the sparse, hard-edged feel of Pascal Quignard’s novel. Locations change abruptly, and characters often embark on unexpected courses of action, creating a portrait of a world in which nothing is certain and every moment is ripe with possibility.

Deep in the Woods
Benoît Jacquot | France | 2010 | 35mm | 102m

Jacquot’s jaw-dropping tale concerns a young villager (Isild Le Besco) who literally falls under the spell of a fierce, svengali-like vagabond (Nahuel Perez Biscayart). Set in the 19th century in the south of France, Deep in the Woods is a fascinating examination of the question of free will and the power of desire. As the young woman follows her strange captor into the forest and beyond, Jacquot brings the proceedings to a feverish pitch that has to be seen to be believed, and the combined force of Le Besco’s and Biscayart’s performances is extraordinary.