Passages Review

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Sundance Snapshot:  Director Ira Sachs eight festival film is a grounded, intensely intimate, and riveting portrait of self-sabotage. Passages examines relationship dynamics and attraction at the intersection of selfishness and need. So if you think movies should skip showing the parts of life that revolve around sex, intimacy, and love on screen then assume you lack the maturity to watch, and process, Passages. Seriously this one's for the grown folks ready and willing to watch life unfold in all its messy realness. 

♦♦

Director: Ira Sachs
Screenwriters: Ira Sachs
Starring: Franz Rogowski Ben Whishaw, Adèle Ezarchopoulos

Runtime:  91 minutes

Sundance Synopsis: In contemporary Paris, German filmmaker Tomas (Franz Rogowski) embraces his sexuality through a torrid love affair with a young woman named Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), an impulse that blurs the lines which define his relationship with his husband, Martin (Ben Whishaw). When Martin begins an extramarital affair of his own, he successfully gains back his husband’s attention while simultaneously unearthing Tomas’ jealousy. Grappling with contradicting emotions, Tomas must either embrace the confines of his marriage or come to terms with the relationship having run its course.

*originally originally run on January 30, 2023 part of the MTR Network's Sundance 2023 coverage

♦♦

What happens when a self-involved filmmaker and a long-suffering artist find themselves no longer in sync with one another in their marriage? Well if that filmmaker is Tomas (Franz Rogowski), then its an excuse to capitalize on a fan's attraction and cheat on your husband Martin (Ben Whishaw). The moment Tomas leaves the dance floor with Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), you know you're in for a whirlwind. Tomas immediately decides his must explor his sexuality even if it means throwing away Martin. At least that's the way of things in Ira Sachs' queer melodrama, Passages. There's just nothing like realizing the movie you're watching understands how to put the "drama" in relationship drama without if feeling kitschy or inauthentic.

Sachs's 90 minute intimate glimpse into how to unravel your life, centers a self-involved filmmaker as he throws his personal life into upheaval. What starts as a torrid affair swiftly becomes an exploration of sexuality and partnership. Driven by a trio of entrancing performances by Rogowski, Whishaw, and Exarchopoulos, Passages brings a fiercely introspective, intensely sensual, and thought-provokingly messy tale of narcassim and need to life. This moody drama peals back the layers of a man so self-involved its ultimately impossisble to satisfy him. The story's strength lies in leaning into its characters' imperfections and often conflicting emotional drives. Sachs uses sound and strategic lighting to aid in building tension. Rogowski' Tomas' mecurial nature finds its balance first Martin's diffident artistic personality and then with Agathe's sensual steadiness. He never knows what he needs until he's made being with him emotionally untenable. If messy bitch had a picture next to it, the portrait would be of Tomas. Passages is for people who appreciate unapologtic authenticity in its storytelling. It smolders, discomfits, and captivates from beginning to sad end. 

Passages will be released by Mubi on August 4, 2023 in New York and Los Angeles and will add US theaters throughout August. 


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