Friday, September 13, 2013

Film on Friday #4 - Three Worlds

The fourth entry in the Film on Friday series is from Catherine Corsini, a French director . Three Worlds was an 2012 official selection for both the Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, as well as others.

A night carousing with two friends in the days leading up to his wedding irrevocably changes Al's life and that of two other women. While speeding through the streets with his attention on his cellphone, Al doesn't see the pedestrian - until he hits him. Stunned, he gets out of the car to see what has happened, but at the urging of his two friends they leave the scene. Unbeknownst to him, Juliette, who lives in apartment above, has witnessed the accident. Shaken, she cannot identify the car or the man to the police. She is unable to let it go and tracks down the victim's wife, Vera. Vera and her husband are illegal immigrants from Moldavia. Al, feeling guilty, sneaks into the hospital and is spotted by Juliette. She realizes he's the one...

Corsini gives us three distinct views of the outcome of Al's actions. Al has everything to lose, does not want to admit culpability, yet his guilt starts to eat away at him, eroding the carefully built life he has made. Raphael Personnaz plays his role well.  I didn't like Al at all - Personnaz's portrayal of the character's initial swaggering and the crumbling and unravelling that followed were believable.

Vera and her family present the harsh reality of illegal immigrants. The hospital is after someone to pay the bills. Vera must go to work the day her husband is operated on. The scene in the hospital with the doctors is especially powerful. Vera is played by Arta Dobroshi. She captured the mercurial tone of Vera that vacillated between sadness and anger, hurt and strength, friendship and loathing. She is the character I empathized with the most.

And caught between the two in a predicament of her own making is Juliet, played by Clotilde Hesme who has made herself a friend to Vera and a confidante and more to Al. She puzzled me the most - her actions towards both are well meant, but with Al she strays into dangerous territory.

The supporting cast is somewhat predictable, with the heavy handed boss, the obnoxious friends, and the grasping, clinging girlfriend, but they all do an admirable job.

As viewers we can see the immediate effects of that single action. We can see things getting steadily worse as the principles compound and complicate the situation with yet another misstep. Where does our sympathy and empathy lie? Each of the three suffers a loss - physically and emotionally. Three Worlds is an excellent exploration of a moral dilemma. The camera action was good, the settings realistic and the sound track suited. Definitely recommended watching.

The bonus short film included - The Piano Tuner - was also excellent. A young man pretends to be blind. While on a job, he sees something he shouldn't have...

Three Worlds from Film Movement - 100 minutes. French and Moldovan with English subtitles. The Piano Tuner -13 minutes.

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