It’s a common belief that we all have a Dopplegänger, a person that looks like us roaming the world. Hell, in a lot of stories, there is the trope of the evil twin. What we see in the mirror, come to life, but with malicious intent. Do we have a version of an identical Mr. Hyde lurking within or is there someone out there ready to turn our world upside down? In Tini Tüllmann’s FREDDY/EDDY, which just played at Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival, we explore this concept as an artist’s life is torn apart by what may be a violent figment of his imagination.Freddy (Felix Schäfer, TRAUMFRAUEN) is a celebrated artist going through hell. His wife is divorcing him after she had an affair. Normally, the courts would be siding with him given those circumstances, however, there are eye witness accounts of Freddy beating both his wife and her lover. He however doesn’t remember a thing about it. Now at risk of losing the custody of his son, as well as a sizable amount of money, Freddy takes a plea bargain to avoid an excruciatingly long court battle and potential jail time.
Being a minor celebrity in a small mountainside town, news of the incident travels faster than wildfire. Beside his half-brother and their catatonic mother, Freddy finds himself with no one on his side. Things start to turn around when the house across the street rents out to Paula (Jessica Schwarz, PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER) and her teenage daughter, Mizi (Greta Bohacek, DAS WEIßE KANINCHEN). But sadly, Paula and Mizi aren’t the only new comers to town.
When Freddy was a child, he had an imaginary friend named Eddy. Eddy was a troublemaker, or at least a convenient scapegoat for a precocious tyke. As things start to fall apart, Eddy (also played by Schäfer) has returned. A spitting image of Freddy, identical in every way except with a thin veneer of anger and sleaze. Like he regularly uses the German angst version of Axe Body Spray.
FREDDY/EDDY is your typical thriller involving a look alike. It would fit in well with most psychological thrillers from the 90s, but if you’ve seen enough of them, you’ll be able to quickly guess where the story takes us. Minus a brief detour with some implied statutory molestation, it was extremely predictable. That being said, Schäfer’s performance as the title characters is pretty damn fun to watch. He does a great job of playing a man pushed to his limits but holding back for fear, whereas the other version has no stake in the game yet wants all the chips, no matter the gamble.
Had this been filmed in the States or Canada, with the budget, it is most likely that this would have been filmed on video. While it can be filtered to look right, the thriller aspect of this film would just be cheapened. Filmed in Germany, and most likely benefiting from government programs,
this was beautifully photographed throughout on film. EDIT: Shortly after posting the review, I received the following message from Tüllmann:
“Hi Derek, thanks for your review! There is only one thing you were guessing completely wrong about. We didn’t get any fundings for the movie. Everybody worked for nothing unfortunately, because in Germany it is really hard to get money for a thriller. We tried for 1.5 years. So in the end we decided to do it without fundings. I had to pay and produce it by myself, because otherwise it would’ve never happened.”
Made near the Bavarian Alps, there are plenty prisitine mountain images throughout. And the aspect of a Dopplegänger wouldn’t be complete without theconstant theme of mirrors popping up.
FREDDY/EDDY may not leave you guessing much, but there are worse things that you’re imagination can do to you.
FREDDY/EDDY played at the Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival November 12th. For future screenings, be sure to check out the film’s Facebook page.