1 August 2013 | gradyharp
Navigating guilt, personal responsibility, ethics, and attitudes towards immigrants
THREE WORLDS is a stunningly dramatic film directed by Catherine Corsini who co-wrote the story and screenplay with Benoît Graffin in collaboration with Antoine Jaccoud and Lise Macheboeuf - a film that approaches several poignant subjects that all weave together to make this a study in human responsibility from birth to death. The acting is extraordinary, the pacing exactly on mark, the cinematography by Claire Mathon enhances the themes, the subtle musical score by Grégoire Hetzel underlines the tension, and the lessons it presents and drives home make is one of the more important social statements before the public today. And additional credit should be given to Film Movement for bringing it to our attention.
Al (the very fine Raphaël Personnaz) is an attractive young man who has risen from the lower stratum of French society to become the co-owner of an automobile firm owned by the shifty but wealthy Testard (Jean-Pierre Malo) and is due to be married to the Testard's daughter Marion (Adèle Haenel) in 10 days. Out celebrating one evening with his friends and fellow workers Franck (Reda Kateb) and Martin (Alban Aumard) Al is the perpetrator of a hit and run accident, critically injuring a Moldavian pedestrian, a scene that is witnessed by the pregnant Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), a woman struggling with her own problems of relationship with the baby's philosophy professor father Frédéric (Laurent Capelluto) who calls 911 to the scene. Al is terrified of his actions, but is convinced by his friends to ignore the situation: after all, the victim is merely an illegal immigrant. Juliette is wrought with empathy, discovers the victim's name, meets the victim's wife Vera (Arta Dobroshi) and the two women bond. Al is so disturbed by his action that he visits the hospital where the victim is in ICU and is seen by Juliette who then sets about to find Al to ask him to do the right thing - turn himself in to the police or at least give money to Vera who is without funds to pay for her husband's care. The plot becomes more complex as Al and Juliette are drawn together - Juliette is the only person with whom he can share and admit his guilt. Juliette is then placed in a position of intermediary between the critically wounded husband of Vera, Vera's Moldavian 'family' and Al. How the situation resolves - including the consequences of Al's moves with his boss and his finance and his encounters with Vera and her 'family' and the death of Vera's husband forms the closure of this powerful film.
There is a scene in a classroom where Juliette's husband is teaching philosophy that quotes Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being" who Frédéric quotes as saying 'the only thing we truly own is our death'. It is a poignant moment that allows the rest of the film's themes to gel. This is a superb film worthy of wide attention.