Reviewed by Roger Gook

Passages is directed by American Ira Sachs but set in Paris and with a very European feel about it. The story revolved around a gay married couple, and the problems following a one night stand with a woman by one of them.

The main character was a totally self-centred film director who manipulated those around him – his lack of responsibility and willingness to hurt those around him was the centre of the film. His behaviour was not any sort of Machiavellian control which would have been interesting but sprang from his weakness and neediness. The story, in the words of the director, was driven by sex, but the sex we saw on the screen was unimaginative and lacking any passion. One scene between the couple came over as exploitative and over graphic, while the sex in the one night stand was totally lacking in excitement – and this was supposed to be the main reason for the rift. There was no clue why he was suddenly attracted to a heterosexual relationship or what he was getting out of it. The film was about lust and control, and so no passion or humanity was shown, making the film a rather soulless and bleak experience.

The final scene however was brilliant, showing some emotion as our hero cycled through Paris, his face a picture of anger and frustration but becoming eventually consumed by grief and tears. Had he found redemption or some sort of awareness of his failings? Probably not, as he was a card-carrying narcissist who had no conception of a world that did not revolve around his, and only his, needs.