Triptych TIFF Review (Paolo Kagaoan)

Triptych

Starring Frédérike Bédard, Lise Castonguay, Hans Piesbergen

Directed by Robert Lepage and Pedro Pires

I’m a fan of Robert Lepage. Only he, as he did in Tectonic Plates, can make a movie about an art student’s journey as a devastating experience. He lets his interconnected characters roam the world, explore all the arts, and let them learn from the unique turning points in their lives. He does the same with Triptych, adapting his own stage play.

Michelle’s segment, as one of the titular panels of the triptych, is the most solid. It sees her go in and out of Catholic-run mental institutions and part-time bookstore jobs, finding the time in the latter to befriend a young male poet. The second section is about Thomas, a London-based German brain surgeon and Italian Renaissance art enthusiast. His character is the least conflicted and least interesting although he does radically rethink one of Michelangelo’s works. Not the most ethical doctor, he is sleeping with the subject of the third and last section of the film – Marie. Because of her operation, she has to retire as a jazz singer and work as a voice actress, piecing her childhood memories through the latter profession. Marie’s plot line is responsible in bringing an emotionally impactful conclusion. I wish that it didn’t hammer a message that would have been obvious to any viewer. However, the separate journeys it has taken to get to that point in the movie is meaty enough to justify such an ending.

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