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SIFF 2011: 3


Occasionally it is obvious in the first minutes of a movie that this will be one of my favorites. This doesn't happen frequently, but when it does, it reaffirms why I love cinema. Tom Tykwer's 3 begins with a contemporary dance piece that essentially the plot of the film. I'm afraid that hook was set from the beginning, I'm a sucker for good, contemporary interpretive dance, and Tykwer reeled me in.

3 is a very contemporary story of relationships, specifically a very mature relationship between Hanna (Sophie Rois) and Simon (Sebastian Schipper). This is the story of a relationship that has endured for 20 years and has arrives at a particularly difficult period involving the death of a parent and a testicular cancer diagnosis. These kinds of big, life changing events are bound to bring conflict into any relationship, but barely phase Hanny and Simon. If anything, their connection only seems to strengthen as they cope with loss. Well, sort of.


During all of these events, Hanna is a bit, shall we say, distracted. This is a spot on depiction of the impact a crush can have on an existing relationship, not that I personally can relate to such a situation, but as Simon's mother becomes ill, Hanna meets Adam at a stem cell conference and then again at an ethics committee, where she finds herself publically at odds with him over a stem cell debate. It doesn't take long before the sparks are flying between them and Hanna makes a few huge mistakes with Simon that in any other film would have been unforgivable, but here, we are looking at the lives of a couple that have already been making relationship blunders for 2 decades and have weathered plenty together. So despite Hanna's frequent, unexplained absences, this relationship moves along unphased and unaware of the existence of Adam.

That is until Simon encounters Adam in a locker room. What follows is the most astonishing locker room hook up that I've seen on film. Not only does Simon's connection with Adam feel completely unforced to the narrative, but it makes emotional sense. And the sex scene while brief and totally unexpected is just perfect in a wonderful life affirming way. And it even involves a money shot. Seriously. The aftermath is just as amazing in that Simon becomes completely infatuated and as he attempts to make sense of his feelings, Adam shrugs off his questions and tells Simon not to get too caught up in sexual determinism.

As the narrative progresses and these three characters lives become entwined in ways that would never happen in any American movie and remain just as innovative as Tykwer's visual style. 3 is a surprising and wonderful film and I cannot wait to see this one again and again and again.



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