With the Cannes Film Festival kicking off next weekend, all eyes in the indie film world are currently on the Croisette. But while most of the buzzy Cannes premieres won’t be making their way stateside for several months, we’re finally approaching the window where breakouts from Sundance begin to open in theaters.
One such hit is “Passages,” Ira Sachs’ haunting eighth feature about a filmmaker who abandons his husband for a woman he meets in Paris. The film, which stars Frank Rogowski, Ben Whishaw, and Adèle Exarchopoulos, was praised by many as a throwback to the kinds of intense character studies that Mike Nichols cut his teeth on in the 1960s and ’70s.
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The film earned strong reviews at Sundance, with IndieWire’s David Ehrlich writing, “A signature new drama from a director whose best work (‘Keep the Lights On,’ ‘Love Is Strange’) is at once both generously tender in its brutality and unsparingly brutal in its tenderness, the raw and resonant ‘Passages’ is the kind of fuck around and find out love triangle that rings true because we aspire to its sexier moments but see ourselves in its most selfish ones.”
In an interview with IndieWire conducted at Sundance, Rognowski, Whishaw, and Exarchopoulos praised Sachs for crafting such a messy relationship drama filled with so much human emotion.
“Being a human being that loves and desires and is full of fear and hope and spontaneous decision, it felt rather easy,” Rogowski said. “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.”
“I actually think [Franz Rogowski’s character] is extremely relatable. It’s not extreme what he does. It’s just that Ira shows it. People do this all the time. They say one thing, they do another, they change their minds about something. We all do it all the time, I do it anyway. I find the erraticness and mercurial… I think that’s very human,” Whishaw added. “[Ira] doesn’t tidy it up, make it nicer.”
“Passages” opens in select U.S. theaters on Friday, August 4. Watch the teaser below.
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