Gracie and Ginny are San Diego twins who speak unlike anyone else. Living largely cut off from the world, the two little girls have created a private form of communication that’s an amalgam of the English and German they hear at home.
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A fascinating study. Nature or nurture? Seeing the grandmother's inability to learn English, the mom's strange accent and wigs, and the bizarre fake fireplace suggest the latter. The scene of the grade school teacher teaching Grace "The Pledge of Allegiance" and "My Country Tis of Thee" is just sad, and also very telling. Camera by Les Blank, credits also to indy producer Tom Luddy and chef Alice Waters.
Strange that I waited so long to see this since it takes two things that are very important to me as its subjects: twin studies and theoretical linguistics. It's very good in that it simply regards the two girls as people rather than as phenomena (Gorin is 'semantic' rather than 'syntactic' I guess) and it made me think of my old college books by Wittgenstein, Kripke, Chomsky, Saussure, et al…
Like his previous metalanguage partner (that with "Adieu au Langage", in 3D, says hello to a new language), for Gorin the question is also of what and how to say, a determinant in the choice of films he made and in the way he did it, like this extraordinary document. It's an investigation which derives as an essay that finds a politicized discourse about the illusory life of petty bourgeois in US.
The film has been with me, the girls have been with me. I can't think of a more balanced documentarian approach, not intellectually, but emotionally--which made the viewing (and its after-taste) that much richer. Those dear little weird twins and their ektachrome world together (DK mentioned Darger-directed Godot) wasn't merely informative, but inviting. We all know their language, not linguist's terrain, but love's.
i find stories like this incredibly interesting but i wish this one had focused more on the linguistics of the twin's language rather than the money gained from filming them. maybe i just didn't get it.
if all those black screens were a metaphor of alienation it only hit me in retrospect, trying to find some sense. during the film i felt more the struggle of a filmmaker a bit uncertain about what he has on his hands...
Fascinating examination of environment and communication, and the effects they have upon each other. I made the mistake of googling the twins' whereabouts now and it's kinda depressing. I think they might have been better off before they were pulled out of their own world.
Really splendid and heartbreaking. The use of freeze-frame, and text, and multiple narrators, fell fascinatingly somewhere between Marker and a Godard with heart. Some lovely camera work too from Les Blank (Burden of Dreams). The film itself seems like a reprieve in a story of sadness that you can only imagine gets much sadder afterwards. Someone said the girls' interaction was like a Darger-directed Godot.