The Third Part of the World

Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in "The Third Part of the World," a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy ("In Bruges") as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin mysteriously vanishing into thin air.

With:
With: Clemence Poesy, Eric Ruf, Maya Sansa, Gaspard Ulliel, Momoko Fructus, Jean-Damien Barbin, Jean-Luc Bideau, Scali Delpeyrat.

Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin mysteriously vanishing into thin air. Catchy tech package helps sustain the awkward combo of quantum physics and menage-a-trois antics, though the formula for this mid-June release has so far proved unfathomable for French auds. Life may yet be found in festival or arthouse universes.

The opening reels shuffle between flashbacks and present-day scenes of Emma (Poesy) and Francois (Gaspard Ulliel), two twentysomethings who cross paths in an airport and take off for a prolonged weekend of bucolic lovemaking. A physics researcher obsessed with entropy, gravity and black holes, Francois quickly falls for Emma’s mystifying persona, and asks her to marry him before he inexplicably disappears during a midday bike ride.

Back in Paris, Emma runs into Francois’ brother, Michel (Eric Ruf), who seems to hold her responsible for the vanishing. Meanwhile, Emma works her day job showing fancy Parisian properties, encountering a psychic Japanese client (Momoko Fructus) who unlocks a sealed closet in one of the vacant apartments.

When Emma and Michel begin having an affair in the spooky property, he too disappears, albeit in a more prolonged manner that has him slowly turning invisible before the horrified eyes of his wife and mistress. By this point, the viewer doesn’t need to be an expert in theoretical physics to figure out what sort of black hole is sucking in all these lovesick male protags.

With ambitious intentions backed by semi-solid filmmaking, writer-director Forestier manages to pull off the genre-jumping for about two-thirds of the pic. But in the closing reels, he needlessly sacrifices his characters to their less interesting supernatural fates; the more challenging option would have had them confronting reality head-on.

Final sequences, in which Emma metaphysically enters the cosmos in search of the truth, are more hokey than powerful, and Forestier’s use of intergalactic stock footage is closer to Ed Wood than Stanley Kubrick. The same goes for the endless references to astrophysical theory — many of them mouthed by a batty Italian professor (Jean-Luc Bideau) — that make the script often seem like an unrealized screen dream of the late Carl Sagan.

Thesp Poesy (who also appeared in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) only half convinces as the gorgeous but shaken Emma. Ulliel (“Hannibal Rising”) and Ruf offer up steadier perfs as the two obsessed bros.

Score by Swedish rocker Jay-Jay Johanson (following his music for 2000’s “Confusion of Genders”) is a welcome change from the usual sci-fi synths.

The Third Part of the World

France

Production: A Shellac Distribution release of a Chateau-Rouge Prod., La Maison production, in association with Soficinema 3. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Cedric Walter. Directed, written by Eric Forestier.

Crew: Camera (color), Patrick Atanazio; editor, Annick Raoul; music, Jay-Jay Johanson; production designer, Sebastien Assouline; costume designer, Mahemiti Deregnaucourt; sound (DTS Digital), Frederic Heinrich, David Amsalem, Benjamin Viau; digital effects supervisor, Francois Dumoulin; assistant director, Nicolas Saubost; casting, Emmanuelle Prevost. Reviewed at MK2 Hautefeuille 2, Paris, June 25, 2008. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Clemence Poesy, Eric Ruf, Maya Sansa, Gaspard Ulliel, Momoko Fructus, Jean-Damien Barbin, Jean-Luc Bideau, Scali Delpeyrat.

More Film

  • Ashton Sanders, Antoine Fuqua, Director/Producer, and

    Denzel Washington Reveals Why 'Equalizer 2' Was His First Sequel

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

  • Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Set as New

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Set as New York Film Festival's Centerpiece

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

  • Database of Minority Entertainment Journalists, Critics

    Time's Up, USC Annenberg Launch Database of Underrepresented Journalists, Critics

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    'The Dark Knight' and More Superhero Films that Wowed Fans and Critics

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

  • Piotr Sliwowski to Head $70 Million

    Piotr Sliwowski to Head $70 Million Polish Moviemaking Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

  • Boban Marjanovic Clippers

    Clippers Center Boban Marjanović Aims to Stand Out in Hollywood

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

  • 'The Dark Knight' Set for 10th

    'The Dark Knight' Set for 10th Anniversary Imax Re-Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bizarre celestial happenings haunt a classic case of the lovesick blues in “The Third Part of the World,” a mildly intriguing sci-fi-logical drama from first-timer Eric Forestier. Part Ingmar Bergman, part Stephen Hawking, the tale stars actress Clemence Poesy (“In Bruges”) as a lonesome realtor whose guy troubles take on quasar-sized proportions when lovers begin […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content