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Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody and James Franco star in the new film from Academy Award-winning writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash), which jumps from Paris to Rome to New York as it traces the hidden connections between three very different men.
Paul Haggis is the master of multiple narratives,
and his lithe affection for this form of
storytelling is on display again in the compelling
Third Person, a film that wends its
way through three cities and three tales. The
various stories, situated in Paris, Rome, and
New York, are, at first glance, all separate,
but Haggis effortlessly makes connections
among them as the film unwinds.
The film concentrates on three men and
their romantic entanglements. Michael
(Liam Neeson) is a writer whose latest
manuscript has been refused, so he flies
off to Paris to rethink his life, leaving his
wife (Kim Basinger) behind in the States.
Sean (Adrien Brody) finds himself wandering
the streets of Rome and befriends
a Romanian woman in a bar, while Rick
(James Franco) lives in a tony New York
apartment with his son from a previous
marriage and his new girlfriend. Gradually,
each one of these stories unveils its secrets,
testifying to the whims and complexities of
life. Surfaces are deceptive in the Haggis
universe, but as each story is explored we
discover untold pleasures and pains. Life
is never easy: it can be deceptive, inhabited
by anger and jealousy, but it can also be surprisingly
Each city in Haggis's film provides
a physical landscape that reflects the
dilemma of the characters, and the locations
are used in very different ways. The
sensuality of Paris, the warmth of Rome
and the edge of New York all heighten the
atmosphere. Third Person is a film of unexpected
wonders, subtle shifts of mood, and
powerful emotions. Redemption can be
found amidst the chaos, but so can its opposite.
Haggis pulls the strings masterfully
while negotiating between the two.
- Paul Haggis
- Paul Haggis was born in London,
Ontario. His screenwriting credits
include Million Dollar Baby (04), Flags
of Our Fathers (06), Casino Royale
(06) and Letters from Iwo Jima (06).
His directorial debut, Crash (04),
which he also wrote and produced,
won Academy Awards for Best
Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
His other directing credits include
In the Valley of Elah (07), which
screened at the Festival, and Third