Three Worlds #pff21

2012 Philadelphia Film Festival, Film Criticism, Film Festivals

Opening with a scene in which the comfortably well-off Alan (Raphael Personnaz) recklessly toys with his two friends trying to get into his car after Alan’s bachelor party, Three Worlds, directed by Catherine Corsini, quickly moves to tragedy as the distracted Alan accidentally hits a pedestrian. Alan hesitates as he struggles with whether or not to report the accident, but his friends pressure him into leaving. His hesitation allows middle class medical student, Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), to catch a glimpse of him before he drives off. Juliette reaches out to Vera (Arta Dobroshi), the wife of the injured man. Juliette feels compelled to help the couple who are working in France illegally, thereby limiting their legal options.

Three Worlds sets out to explore the class differences that exists among these three characters. This analytic approach often undermines the emotional immediacy of the complex plot. Given the set-up, Three Worlds could have easily slipped into melodrama, but, instead, goes a bit too far in the other direction establishing and maintaining an emotional distance from the characters whose motivations are often unclear.

At times, the film feels a bit contrived. Alan is marrying into a wealthy family who owns a car dealership, making it very convenient for him to replace his damaged hood. His mother used to work as a maid for the family, thereby adding an exclamation point to the class issues.

Despite these flaws, Three Worlds remains intriguing and often veers into unexpected territories. At one point, the film seems to suggest that Alan may be purposely letting things go from bad to worse so that he can escape his impending marriage. The forgiveness he desires from the aggrieved Vera does not materialize as she denies him any access to redemption. The film’s enigmatic final scene provides a rather slippery conclusion as loose ends are not tied up as tightly as they may first seem.

Using the festival’s scoring system, I rank Three Worlds as Very Good or 4 out of a possible 5.

Check out all my 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival Posts!