Format: Cinema

Preview: 1 May 2012

Venue: Apollo


1-7 May 2012

Release date: 4 May 2012

Venues: London West End only

Distributor: Arrow Films

Director: Benedek Fliegauf

Writer: Benedek Fliegauf

Alternative title: Womb

Cast: Eva Green, Matt Smith, Lesley Manville

Germany/Hungary/France 2010

111 mins

It might be clichéd to say that the landscape is the star of the film, but it is undeniably true of Clone (Womb), an ambitious, genre-blending drama set in one of the bleakest, windiest and most harrowingly beautiful parts of Germany – the North Sea coast. Amid the impressive scenery, Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf imagines the love story between Rebecca (Eva Green) and Thomas (Matt Smith), who secretly loved and sadly lost each other when they were kids, only to meet again as adults and live happily ever after. But soon destiny takes another cruel turn, and loss and grief lead Rebecca to give birth to a cloned copy of her dead lover. Aesthetically and conceptually Fliegauf aims high, but while he impresses on the former level, he is not quite as successful on the latter. Edited with tranquil precision, the film takes its time exploring the parameters of the new family life and falters only when Thomas (who turns out to be the spitting image of his predecessor not only in looks, but, rather annoyingly, also in habits and behaviour) falls for a girl who joins and ultimately destroys the intimate togetherness of mother and son. Superbly photographed as it is, Clone, like Fliegauf’s previous films, is a piece of dark cinematic poetry that requires a certain amount of patience from the viewer, although this time, his grasp of emotional dynamics seems much more skilful, making for a strangely moving film.

Pamela Jahn

This review was originally published as part of our coverage of the London Film Festival 2011. Clone screens as part of SCI-FI-LONDON‘S opening night on May 1.