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Passages 18

Ira Sachs, France, 2023, 91m.

Celebrated independent filmmaker Ira Sachs (Love is Strange, Keep the Lights On) makes a breathtaking return with Passages, a fresh, honest and brutally funny take on romantic chaos, featuring honest and emotionally nuanced performances from Franz Rogowski (Great Freedom), Ben Whishsaw (Women Talking) and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Colour).

Set in contemporary Paris, this seductive comedy-drama tells the story of Tomas (Rogowski) and Martin (Whishaw), a gay couple whose marriage is thrown into crisis when Tomas impulsively begins a passionate affair with a young school teacher, Agathe (Exarchopoulos). Though he embraces this exciting new exploration, the novelty of being with a woman starts to fade when Martin begins an affair of his own, forcing Tomas to confront life decisions he may be unprepared – or unwilling – to deal with.

Perceptive, intimate and unashamedly sexy, Passages sees Sachs put a uniquely European spin on his usually tender style, telling a messy, modern love story that explores the complexities, contradictions and cruelties of sex and desire.

The Garden Cinema View:

Manifesting like a Rainer Werner Fassbinder protagonist without the misanthropy, film director Tomas is the kind of queer chaos agent who would have appealed to the late German master (and have possibly been played by him too). Passages is, on the surface, another Parisian ménage à trois drama, but bounces through its brief running time with a uniquely scrappy sense of rhythm and energy. Both deceptively funny and unexpectedly moving, the incessant coupling and decoupling is anchored by a superb (and, to be honest, highly desirable) cast, and includes some of the steamiest sex scenes ever committed to screen!  

Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw, Adèle Exarchopoulos

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