Sunday, November 09, 2008

3 Jours

3 Jours (3 Days)
Directed by Jean-Marc Rousseau, France, Unknown year, 6:47

3 Jours is about a man that finds out his ex-girlfriend is HIV positive. He has to wait 3 days to find out his own personal HIV test results, and he cannot bring himself to discuss the situation with his current girlfriend. At the end of the film, he finds out he is HIV positive. As he cries, his girlfriend calls his phone, but he does not answer.

What impressed me about this film is it's ability to let the audience fill in the blanks, but not in a way that is too challenging for the audience or in a way that is too cliche to remain entertaining. For example, when the protagonist talks to his friend on the phone, we are not exactly what sure what the bad news is. The suspense builds in the next scene when he won't tell his girlfriend what is wrong. However, in the next scene, the doctor asks him if he's had unprotected sex in the last 3 months, and the audience can begin filling in the blanks that a serious sexually transmitted disease like HIV is involved (later, HIV is directly referenced to extinguish any further mystery).

The film builds drama nicely between the lines. The main character never says, "Oh no! I have HIV and I am afraid to tell my girlfriend whom I've been sleeping with!" However, the man's private moments of despair and his interactions with his girlfriend reveal how intense the situation is.

The film also contains one of those always-dependable "now the beginning makes sense!" endings. In the beginning, the protagonist is sitting and crying while his phone rings. We have no idea what is happening. By the end of the film, we know he has HIV and that he has to tell his girlfriend. The same shot of him crying while the phone is ringing is replayed, this time to greater effect as we know the drama of the phone call.

Overall, this is a fairly strong short. While the plot is a bit "been there done that," the filmmaker handles it in a fresh manner that is intelligent and simple at once. The open ending leaves the audience wanting more, which is good for a filmmaker attempting to market himself.

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