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3 Needles

3 Needles

Genre: Drama
Rated: Unrated
Directed by
: Thom Fitzgerald
Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Stockard Channing, Lucy Liu, Chloë Sevigny, Olympia Dukakis, Sandra Oh
Released by: Wolfe Releasing

In Short: The insidious effects of the continuing AIDS epidemic are explored in three compelling vignettes.

Feeling the Worldwide Pain
Film Pricks Our Collective Conscience

by Jenny Peters

Writer-director Thom Fitzgerald is determined that we keep focused on the scourge of the AIDS virus; with this cinematic triptych of stories that spans the world, he guarantees that those of us who watch “3 Needles” definitely will.

Spanning China, Canada and Africa, the film explores the different ways that AIDS is still being spread—from more rural, superstitious and less privileged peoples to Western society where people should know better, but are still knowingly infecting others.

Lucy Liu shines in the first segment as a pregnant woman deep in the heart of China, whose actions as a blood gatherer end up infecting an entire village. Her performance is so affecting—and her story line so lyrically beautiful in both narrative and visuals—that it is hard for the other actors who follow to match her intensity.

Stockard Channing gives it a go, however, in the second segment set in Montréal, as she discovers that her son (Shawn Ashmore) has been working as a porn actor and has contracted AIDS. Her performance, ably supported by his, makes this segment the most disturbing. These are the people who should know the danger of AIDS, but do not care if people die as they grasp at life together.

The third segment, set in a stunningly beautiful African locale, brings home the crisis on that continent in a very personal way. Seen through the eyes of three nuns (played by Olympia Dukakis, Chloë Sevigny and Sandra Oh, in a very minor role) who are trying to convert the so-called “pagans” to Catholicism, this vignette is a multi-layered look at a simple society where AIDS is running rampant.

Overall, “3 Needles” is an extremely well-acted, beautiful-to-look-at indictment of much of the world's attitude toward AIDS—a blend of indifference, ignorance, and resignation that ultimately leaves us with a slightly depressed feeling about the fate of man in the face of this insidious disease. Obviously, a “feel-good” movie it’s not, so know going in that this is a serious film about a serious subject. However, it is one worth watching for certain.


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