TRILOGY (Lucas Belvaux, 2002)

The narrative form of Lucas Belvaux’s Trilogy may be described as three overlapping circles of plot. The same event that’s central in one film may be peripheral in another; a character who is major here may be “supporting” there. (Think Balzac.)
     The recycled cast of characters includes three schoolteachers: Cécile, who is married to hypochondriac Alain; Jeanne, who used to be the lover and sister radical of Bruno, the terrorist who has just escaped from prison after 15 years; Agnès, a morphine addict whose husband, Pascal, is a cop who, hunting down Bruno, must decide whether to kill him to keep a supply of morphine flowing from the crime boss who used to be Bruno’s ally. The first film, a comedy, is titled “Un couple épatant”; the second, “Cavale,” is a thriller; the last, “Après la vie,” a melodrama. Writer-director Belvaux has said that the three films, which don’t constitute a chronological series, can be viewed in any order.
     Each film is about what their marriage means to its participants. Noticing that on a specific Saturday Alain’s behavior changes and thus suspecting infidelity, Cécile asks co-worker Agnès’s spouse to check things out. Jeanne’s settled life, including spouse and kids, is her barrier against political disillusionment that Bruno’s escape threatens to crash. Morphine is the glue of Pascal and Agnès’s relationship; when Pascal can no longer express his love for her by providing it, because of the crime boss’s interference, Agnès takes to the streets in search of a fix; there, Bruno becomes her protector, and she his.
     Trilogy contests the stereotypical narrative tyranny that assigns certain characters greater importance and other characters lesser importance. Correlative to this, Belvaux argues for the equal importance of all our lives, each of which intersects the equally important lives of others.


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