Sunday, September 11, 2005

3 Needles (Thom Fitzgerald)

3 Needles (Thom Fitzgerald) 65 – Fitzgerald’s last movie, the lamentable The Event, made me enter this one with fairly low expectations. What I got would have satisfied just about any expectations that I could have had, however. A sprawling trio of tales, 3 Needles presents AIDS as a worldwide crisis, examining the economic, social and regulatory issues that swirl around this very complex problem. It’s a movie that doesn’t attempt to offer solutions so much as it tries to acknowledge and put a human face on the myriad ways that the disease is causing suffering.

In none of the stories are we conventionally asked to feel sympathy for an AIDS patient. Fitzgerald already made The Event, I suppose, and doesn’t feel the need to retread that ground. Instead, the tales that we do get to see (just three out of ninety million, the narration tells us) seem designed to consider implications of the disease that we might not have yet considered and to examined the complex psychic toll that dealing with the disease can take. One story, set in Montreal, documents an outbreak of the virus in the porn industry. The dazzling African sequences are concerned less with the plights of the victims than the toll that it takes on the missionaries sent to help. The third plot, set in China, involves a shifty bloodbank’s operation, in a story that easily trumps the similarly themed The Constant Gardener. This might all sound depressive, but Fitzgerald doesn’t submerge us in the trauma. He holds back and presents the ordeal with clear-headed organization that only magnifies the film’s scope.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Wow. It just occured to me that I saw 'The Hanging Garden' 7 years ago. What a memorable film.