Cinema Review: Passages

Posted 11 months ago in Cinema Reviews


With cinematography that casts blinking as sin, Passages seems to offer a case for love as self-exploration and self-soothing, as much as symbiotic fulfilment. Tomas (Franz Rogowski), a fiery, restless film director leaves a deft puncture in his marriage to Martin (Ben Whishaw), by embarking on an affair with Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who he meets at the wrap of his latest film. Fuelled at first, perhaps, by a lustful curiosity, their relationship deepens, sprouting characteristic complications, in parallel to a new love interest for Martin. Neither affair plays out in a vacuum however, thanks in chief to the restless hands of Tomas, our rarely satiated protagonist.

This intertwining of relationships (and indeed, throughout, art forms) that shy away from definition, paints a sexually explorative Paris brimming with modern possibility. The interpersonal bedrock of this film feels composed of a bared humanity and a deep lust for love, dressed up as a yearning for beauty. What evades each character in turn is the all-encompassing, honest kind of love which places priority on commitment over curiosity and faith before pride. Director Ira Sachs (who also directed Love Is Strange, 2014) leaves us with a final image of the stylish, though foolish, Tomas cycling through Paris with a doomed urgency that serves well as summation; it’s in the very act of chasing that the thing he so desires escapes him – and yet, he races on.

Passages presents an unwinding spool of tender vignettes which wrench at some heartstrings, while mending others. Direct and often sparse dialogue compliments a carousel of crystalized moments capturing the erotic beauty of this subjective ‘everyday’. As Summer nights turn to Autumn evenings, this emotional palette cleanser is a must-see for the soul.

Words: Emer Tyrrell


Director: Ira Sachs

Talent: Ben Whishaw, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Franz Rogowski

Release Date: September 1

Passing Through: Ira Sachs... Director Ira Sachs is in Dublin for the first time in support of his latest film Passages. We sit down with him in the IFI on the morning of its premiere. Read our interview here.


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