What happens when the line between art and love is blurred?
Ira Sachs’ Sundance standout film “Passages” poses the age-old question about commitment and the cruelty of love triangles for the sake of art.
The official synopsis reads: After completing his latest project, filmmaker Tomas (Franz Rogowski) impulsively begins a heated love affair with a young schoolteacher, Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos). For Tomas, the novelty of being with a woman is an exciting experience that he is eager to explore despite his marriage to Martin (Ben Whishaw). But when Martin begins his own affair, the mercurial Tomas refocuses his attentions on his husband. Set in contemporary Paris, “Passages” charts an escalating battle of desire between three people, where want is a constant and happiness is just out of reach.
Saïd Ben Saïd and Michel Merkt serves as producers on the film, which is distributed by Mubi.
“Passages” marks Sachs’ eighth film. The cast spoke with IndieWire at 2023 Sundance with Rogowski explaining that it took a while to connect to his “irrational and mean” character.
“The way [Sachs] composed those relationships was very interesting from the start, but it’s true that I had some concerns regarding the credibility, because [my character Tomas’] decisions seem to be sometimes so irrational or mean that it was hard for me in the beginning to find access to his world and the reasons that drive his decisions,” Rogowski said. “Being a human being that loves and desires and is full of fear and hope and spontaneous decision, it felt rather easy. It’s not just about this character being hard to understand. It’s also very funny how it’s combined sometimes, it’s also very ridiculous. Love, sometimes, is ridiculous and painful, but also, it always comes back to 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 is allowed to become a strength unto itself,” Ehrlich penned. “Sachs has always been a lightning rod for actors who aren’t afraid of making difficult choices — even if their characters are.”
“Passages” premieres in theaters August 4. Check out the trailer below.