A gay couple’s marriage spirals into chaos when one of them begins an affair with a younger woman in Ira Sach’s seductive and bitterly amusing Paris-set drama. Starring Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2023
Franz Rogowski (Transit NZIFF 2021, Disco Boy NZIFF 2023) plays Tomas, a narcissistic film director who sleeps with a young teacher Agathe (Adèle Exarchopoulos, Sibyl NZIFF 2019) after his film’s wrap party. He confesses this marital blunder to his husband, graphic designer Martin (Ben Whishaw, Bad Behaviour NZIFF 2023), but continues the affair. Tomas darts between the two lovers at his whim with little thought for their hearts, and Agathe and Martin find themselves unable to escape his orbit. What ensues is an incisive study of restlessness, desire, entitlement and self-obsession.
Director Ira Sachs (Love Is Strange NZIFF 2014, Keep the Lights On NZIFF 2012) returns to form here, charting the turbulent intricacies of romantic relationships to compelling effect. Sachs’ keenly felt empathy for these characters, despite their destructive tendencies and dependencies, leads Rogowski, Exarchopoulos and Whishaw to deliver among the strongest performances of their respective careers. A must-see for selfish artists, chaotic bisexuals, restless narcissists, and those who have dared to enter a relationship with them. — Amanda Jane Robinson
“Having introduced us to emotionally rich New York landscapes… it’s remarkable to [see Sachs] take a turn for the Truffaut here and land it with recognisably French elegance… Working with his regular co-writer Mauricio Zacharias, Sachs traces the collapse of multiple relationships with a deft hand. So much is said in where he locates his characters in the frame: who is obscured by whom when arguments rage, and in the wounded looks between his characters… Right down to a final shot that’s scored joyously by a brass band, Sachs delivers an achingly beautiful film that’s sexy, sad and so very French.” — Stephen A. Russell, Time Out
“A damning look at the pain certain people can inflict on others while they’re too busy focused on their own wants… a slight yet scarring study of romantic chaos.” — Benjamin Lee, The Guardian