A Quebec City bookseller with psychiatric issues, a German brain surgeon with a hand tremor, a jazz singer struggling to remember the timbre of her father’s voice: the lives of these three characters intersect in the sublime narrative geometry of this haunting adaptation of Robert Lepage’s celebrated theatre work Lipsynch.
Robert Lepage, Pedro Pires
Michelle, Thomas, Marie. Three characters whose lives will intersect to create a narrative geometry that is as essential to the content as it is the form of Robert Lepage and Pedro Pires's Triptyque. This haunting film, based on the Lepage's celebrated theatre work Lipsynch, explores means of communication, language (and the loss of language), and the unexpected modes through which we connect.
Michelle runs a used bookstore in Quebec City, though she has had to spend some time in a psychiatric institution. Even upon release she still hears voices, still sees a little blond ghost from somewhere in her past. Thomas is a brain surgeon being forced into early retirement due to a tremor. He visits the Sistine Chapel and admires, with a twitch of envy, the elegance of God's eternally reaching hand, and sees in His kingdom echoes of the contours of the human brain. Marie is a Quebecois jazz singer performing in London, suddenly in need of emergency surgery. Thomas warns her that the procedure could result in temporary aphasia. She's terrified, but he reminds her that even if she can't form speech, she can still sing, wordlessly.
As always with Lepage, profound ideas
circulate in Triptyque, manifesting in the
form of a student searching for a book and
composing a rap song, or actors trying to
invoke the forgotten voice of a long-dead
father by dubbing dialogue to silent home
movies. Characters fall in love, struggle to
speak, struggle to hear — to make sense of a
life that so often exceeds the capacity of language
to bring order. Using words, images,
and music, Lepage has again eloquently
expressed something at once moving, intellectually
stimulating, and finally ineffable.