I’m a big fan of conversational films. I find it so interesting to see two people cleverly one upping each other. Most of my friends hate “talking heads” movies so its rare that I am able to talk about them. Conversations with Other Women follows a Man (Aaron Eckhart) and Woman (Helena Bonham Carter) as they coyly speak to each other about their lives. They are complete strangers, despite having been married to each other.
Conversations with Other Women, directed by Hans Canosa, is an exceptional little film, which at first may seem like a novelty. I don’t blame those who think that the use of split screen in the film is a bit silly. Rarely is this technique used in films. If it is used, the duration of the split screen scene (alliteration!) is relatively short. in this case, the split screen lasts the entire duration of the film.
The split screen technique is actually pretty innovative in the film. Most scenes are filmed simultaneously with two cameras in order to create an effect where a section of one side of the frame it doubled over in the other from a different angle. Take for instance the screen cap below, showing both actor from different angles. Canosa actually had to edit the film himself because his original editor grew frustrated with the split screen technique. Equipped with only his conceptual knowledge of editing, Canosa was able to figure out editing software to create a well edited film.
The split screen also conveys two different time lines at some points, one where the man and woman are jadedly playing with each other and one where they are young and happy. Its a great juxtaposition, showing how they are going thought the same motions as before, but without that hope of things lasting forever.
The film slowly reveals the truth of their relationship incredibly carefully, greatly due to the stylistic choice and the actors. This almost feels like an acting seminar. Some of the dialogue would feel forced were it not for Eckhart’s cool demeanor and Bonham Carter’s nuanced performance. They disappear into their characters so well. Not many actors can pull of the intimacy that these two have.
Please check out this very creatively shot film. Available on Netflix Instant.