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Three Worlds (English Subtitled) 2013

NR
4.3 out of 5 stars (33) IMDb 6.5/10

An engaged young car salesman with a bright future commits a hit & run, but must face his own guilt when he begins an affair with a witness who has befriended the victim's wife. In French w/ English subtitles. Official Selection - Cannes FF.

Starring:
Raphaël Personnaz, Clotilde Hesme
Runtime:
1 hour, 40 minutes

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By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 1, 2013
Format: DVD
THREE WORLDS is a stunningly dramatic film directed by Catherine Corsini who co-wrote the story and screenplay with Benoît Graffin in collaboration with Antoine Jaccoud and Lise Macheboeuf - a film that approaches several poignant subjects that all weave together to make this a study in human responsibility from birth to death. The acting is extraordinary, the pacing exactly on mark, the cinematography by Claire Mathon enhances the themes, the subtle musical score by Grégoire Hetzel underlines the tension, and the lessons it presents and drives home make is one of the more important social statements before the public today. And additional credit should be given to Film Movement for bringing it to our attention.

Al (the very fine Raphaël Personnaz) is an attractive young man who has risen from the lower stratum of French society to become the co-owner of an automobile firm owned by the shifty but wealthy Testard (Jean-Pierre Malo) and is due to be married to the Testard's daughter Marion (Adèle Haenel) in 10 days. Out celebrating one evening with his friends and fellow workers Franck (Reda Kateb) and Martin (Alban Aumard) Al is the perpetrator of a hit and run accident, critically injuring a Moldavian pedestrian, a scene that is witnessed by the pregnant Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), a woman struggling with her own problems of relationship with the baby's philosophy professor father Frédéric (Laurent Capelluto) who calls 911 to the scene. Al is terrified of his actions, but is convinced by his friends to ignore the situation: after all, the victim is merely an illegal immigrant. Juliette is wrought with empathy, discovers the victim's name, meets the victim's wife Vera (Arta Dobroshi) and the two women bond.
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Format: DVD
Al is a man who has worked his way up from the bottom of a Paris auto garage. The boss likes him so much that he is giving him a 25% stake in the company, making him the manager and all this when he marries the boss's daughter. So everything is coming up roses. Then on a night out with two colleagues and alleged friends, he hits a pedestrian, and fearful of the consequences he drives off.

The accident is observed by a woman Juliette (Clotilde Hesme - `Mysteries of Lisbon') and she goes to help. Being the caring sort she goes to the Hospital and helps trace the victim's wife Vera (Arta Dobroshi - `The Silence of Lorna'). But Al also has a conscience and realises he must find out how the man is doing. At the hospital he runs into Juliette and she recognises him. Meanwhile Vera's husband is deteriorating as his hospital bills mount; as he is an illegal or `clandestine' immigrant from Moldova he is therefore not entitled to free healthcare. But as Juliette gets more involved, things become increasingly complicated and the line between what is right and wrong extremely blurred all leading her and those involved to be forced to make life changing decisions.

This is one of those films that tackles some unpleasant truths especially around economic migration, which happens the World over. Director Catherine Corsini has used an imagined scenario to look at the human psyche in order to unpick legal rights from moral obligations and has done so in an extremely well made film. There are some things that I thought were a bit of a push, like Al having all his eggs in one basket with regards to his job, marriage, home and car all wrapped up in the hands of his boss/Father in law, but that is not unheard of.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is a powerful look into the influences of guilt as they're explored here in a way very reminiscent of the approach to the stages of grief, without coming off didactic. In this excellent film, the story's potential for high emotionality, which might have easily taken over, is reined in just enough to allow the viewer to stay focused and inquisitive throughout. It's such a specific theme, with all elements funneling that focus, that too much said would be a spoiler. Our ride takes us through emotions ranging from disdain to fear to heart-rending compassion and empathy, one merging into another and none experienced as discrete. And that keeps us engaged. Al's (Personnaz) angst builds and gains intensity like a storm gathers wind; transforming more and more into action. Juliette's involvement is at first acute, pulls back, then evolves into full immersion. This pacing is exceptional. Applause for the compelling writing by Catherine Corsini, the skillful directing by Corsini and Graffin, and the exquisite acting by Raphael Personnaz and Clotilde Hesme!
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Format: DVD
We watched Three Worlds (original title: "Trois mondes"), a taut, well-plotted French drama conceived by writer/director Catherine Corsini, as part of the Film Movement subscription service. It's a great way to see foreign films that don't often get a fair chance here in the US. That's certainly the case for Three Worlds: it never got a chance here, playing only in one theater. Now's your opportunity to see it in video or, better still, Amazon Instant Video release. It's compelling watching well worth your time.

The cast here is first rate, starting with the beautiful and talented Clotilde Hesme, who made me a fan with her winsome, girl-next-door performance in The Grocer's Son (English Subtitled). Then, we have Raphaël Personnaz, the ill-fated center antagonist/protagonist who panics and flees after a hit-and-run and spends the rest of the film attempting to salve his wracked conscience. He's definitely a personnaz of interest in my book after seeing this film. [Yeah, couldn't wait to use that lame joke.]

The film's "third world" is fleshed out by Arta Dobroshi as Vera. This striking Kosovan actress plays a Moldovan immigrant to Paris. Her world and that of Al's (Personnaz's character) are brought together brutally by the accident in which Vera's husband is mowed down in the street. The glue between the two is Juliette - witness to the incident - who forms unlikely relationships with each side of the triangle.

You won't rest a moment while watching this film. It starts with a super high energy scene of drunken "boys' night out" revelry and never lets up.
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