Focus Features releases The Silent Twins at nationwide on September 16th, 2022.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What was the process like to decide what to omit from the book?
Agnieszka Smoczynska: I got the script written by Andrea Seigel already, so I wasn't in the process. She already sent me the final version of her script, so I don't know what was the process and why she decided to omit some of the things from the book, so it's very hard for me to answer that.
NYC MOVIE GURU: In the editing room, what was the most challenging to tweak: entertaining the audience, provoking the audience emotionally or provoking them intellectually?
AS: I always treat the editing process as something that's like still writing the script. The most challenging part was the emotions---not only to sell the story, but also how to present the characters and how to work in terms of the emotions. We concentrated on June and Jennifer's relationship and on how to create the tension between them all the time, and the same tension with the audience. Also, we focused on not repeating the emotions and not repeating information. So, the editing process, especially at the end, was to eliminate repetitions and information--just to follow the emotions and to follow their relationship.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you see The Silent Twins as more of a comedy with tragedy or as a tragedy with comedy? How challenging was it to balance the comedic and tragic elements?
AS: When I was reading the script for the first time, I was laughing and was very moved at the same time. So, it was a combination of tragedy and comedy. It was very complex because the characters are human beings who are very complex. Their sense of humor, imagination and how they communicated with each other was amazing. What I liked very much was that me, as a director, and Andrea Seigel, as the screenwriter, combined these two tones because they're very different tones. Because June and Jennifer were such complex and extraordinary human beings, they imposed the combination of tragedy and comedy.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Who do you think is ultimately responsible for opening the window character's heart, mind and soul?
AS: The Silent Twins is a collaborative work, so it's not only the writer, not only the director and not only the actors. I think that we all accomplish this together. With the moment when you meet with the audience, I think that this is the moment when we open this window into their soul and the heart of the movie. This is that the moment when the viewer is in contact with the movie is that kind of moment. So, it's not just one person; it's a team effort.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think is the purpose of struggle in life?
AS: I think that all of us, as human beings, want to express ourselves and to achieve something. When you want to express yourself or to achieve something, you have to face the outside world with another human being and you have to face yourself. There is a conflict. The conflict between this creates the struggle. It's always like this. It's very universal. The battle, of course, depends on the perspective. When you watch the battle and are inside of the battle and you don't see the result, it's a completely different moment. When you are after the battle, you realize what's the lesson of the battle or if you achieve what you wanted to achieve.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think is the purpose of art? Why were June and Jennifer so compelled to create art and to use their power of imagination?
AS: The Silent Twins is also about artists and how the artists want to communicate with the outside world. June and Jennifer decided not to communicate in a verbal way, but they desperately want to communicate with the outside world through their art and writings. They wanted to tell stories to the people. They wanted to express themselves. So, they were artists. June's book, Pepsi-Cola Addict, was published. Art can be a therapy. It's a very, very complex question and the answer can be very, very complex. I think that art is a way to cope with reality. Art is also a way of expression--escape of reality. This is something that you can find when you feel oppressed or how June and Jennifer felt. They also excluded themselves when they were silent. Their common imagination is a way of escaping from the outside world. They could create a parallel reality and could survive in this reality. We know from the beginning of history that artists can create parallel reality. We have three dimensions: physical, psychological and soul. So, the soul dimension, for some people, is religion, and, for some people, is art. I think that art defines us as human beings.