What happens when the line between art and love is blurred?
Ira Sachs’ extraordinary Sundance film “Passages” poses the age-old question of the commitment and cruelty of love triangles for the sake of art.
The official synopsis reads: After completing his latest project, director Tomas (Franz Rogowski) impulsively begins a heated romance with a young teacher, Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos). For Tomas, the novelty of being with a woman is an exciting experience that he can’t wait to explore despite her marriage to Martin (Ben Whishaw). But when Martin begins his affair, the changeable Tomas refocuses her attentions on her husband. Set in contemporary Paris, “Passages” chronicles an escalating battle of desire between three people, where desire is a constant and happiness is just out of reach.
Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt are the producers of the film, distributed by Mubi.
“Passages” marks Sachs’ eighth film. The cast spoke to IndieWire at Sundance 2023 with Rogowski explaining that it took some time to connect to the character of him being “irrational and petty.”
“The way (Sachs) composed these reports was very interesting from the start, but admittedly I had some concerns about believability because (my character Tomas)’s decisions sometimes seem to be so irrational or mean things that it was difficult for me in the beginning to find access to his world and the reasons that guide his decisions,” said Rogowski. “Being a human being who loves and desires and is full of fear, hope and decision spontaneous, it was pretty easy. It’s not just this character that’s hard to understand. It’s also very funny the way it’s sometimes put together, it’s also very ridiculous. Love is sometimes ridiculous and painful, but it always comes back in very human and intimate moments that allow you to accept the more challenging ones.
IndieWire critic David Ehrlich praised “Passages” for not shying away from the self-destructive habits of its intimate characters. “’Passages’ is at its best whenever the modesty of its story can become a force in itself,” Ehrlich wrote. “Sachs has always been a lightning rod for actors who aren’t afraid to make tough choices, even if their characters are.”
“Passages” will premiere in theaters on August 4th. Watch the trailer below.