Québecois filmmaker and theatre director Robert Lepage is one of Canada’s truly great artists, a man of astonishing visual style. Since then he has achieved great acclaim, often playing larger on the international stage than he does in most of English Canada.
For his latest film, Lepage has teamed up with award-winning short film director Pedro Pires to tell this tale of language and loss, of the intertwined stories of three people connecting in a variety of ways.
Through the use of elegant transitions and some moments of startling, near genre film-worthy scenes, the film remains resolutely cinematic. This is all the more remarkable when it’s recognized that this is based on one of Lepage’s theatrical works. Despite the dialogue (and idea) heavy story, it never feels “stagey” or claustrophobic.
Strong performances by the main characters do create a kind of dream-like quality to the film, and the way that each component reflects upon the other is the film’s biggest draw. The work does occasionally drift towards the saccharine, yet doesn’t linger too long before finding its footing again.
Tryptich may not live up to some of his other bursts of Lepage’s cinematic brilliance, but the collaboration seems to be a fruitful one, the mix of the stark with the ethereal at times quite pleasing. It’s a capable if slightly forgettable work, showcasing a master talent playing with a different palate, along with a fresh collaborator that presumably has helped nudge the film into a slightly more visceral rather than cerebral vein.
With intoxicating visuals and a cosmopolitan setting, this is accessible art cinema. Given its flourishes and mildly indulgent reflection upon aging, love, and our ability to communicate in all its forms, it’s likely that it’s a film that will find a receptive audience.