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3 Needles
3 Needles
Actors: ChloŽ Sevigny, Lucy Liu, Shawn Ashmore, Mabel Adams, Asckt
Director: Thom Fitzgerald
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2007     2hr 7min

In China, Ping (Lucy Liu) is a pregnant young woman running a black market blood collection scam that creates a mini-epidemic in a rural village. In Montreal, Denys (Shawn Ashmore) is a porn actor hiding his positive HIV s...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: ChloŽ Sevigny, Lucy Liu, Shawn Ashmore, Mabel Adams, Asckt
Director: Thom Fitzgerald
Creators: Thom Fitzgerald, Brad Horvath, Bryan Hofbauer, Mark Bennett, Michael Gleissner, Robert A. Flutie
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Religion
Studio: Wolfe Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/03/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 7min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Afrikaans, English, French, Xhosa

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Member Movie Reviews

William J. (billystan3) from AUBURN, NY
Reviewed on 2/1/2011...
This movie is not a religious movie by any stretch of the imagination. It was a good drama tracing AIDS and how (graphicly) it travels around the world. The reason it is called Three Needles is because it takes three different scenarios and with an oustanding cast depicts the spread of aids.
Barbara A. from SUN CITY, CA
Reviewed on 9/22/2008...
This movie is one of those movies, one is foced to ask "how did they ever come up with 3 different stories, in 3 different countries that all interlink". Sad, shocking, but completely entertaining as one sees how humans all over the globe will do anything for a dollar!

Movie Reviews

Big Ideas And An Important Message In A Film That Failed To
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 02/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

""3 Needles" is a well-intentioned, serious-minded film from Canadian filmmaker Thom Fitzgerald. While Fitzgerald has a following from his previous efforts "The Hanging Garden" and "Blood Moon," this is by far his most ambitious project. He has lined up a first rate roster of talent including Stockard Channing, Lucy Lui, Sandra Oh, Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Sevigny and Shawn Ashmore. Telling three stories revolving around the worldwide AIDS epidemic, "3 Needles" was shown on the festival circuit as an interwoven piece (in the style of "Traffic" or "Babel"). However, after middling reviews, it was divided into three separate stories. Released in major cities for Oscar consideration, it was also shown simultaneously as a Showtime premiere.

The first segment, set in China, stars Lucy Lui as a pregnant woman trafficking in the black market blood business. In a small rural village, we see the repercussions as HIV contaminated blood affects the supply. The second segment stars Shawn Ashmore as a Canadian porn star. Needing money, he continues to work in the business even after he has been infected with HIV. Stockard Channing plays his mother with a very unorthodox way of providing for them after he has been exposed as a health risk. In the last third, Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Sevigny, and Sandra Oh play missionaries on assignment to help a hospital in Africa. They struggle to educate the local workers in facts, not superstitions, to help prevent the spread of the virus.

I admire the scope and the intent behind "3 Needles" very much. Obviously made as a "serious" film, I never think it's bad to use the film medium to educate on important matters. However, I felt "3 Needles" always kept me at arm's distance. For a film filled with such tragedy, such horrors--there was something of an emotional disconnect. I did find the stories interesting enough, but sadly--they never moved me. Part of the problem had to be the characters, they were limited in development. I was intrigued by what they were doing (because they make some controversial choices), but we're never allowed to understand the "why." With a little more depth, any one of these stories could have been a far more effective feature film. But, as is, the segments are a bit distant and the characters cryptic.

It doesn't help matters, however, that each sequence ends with a very obvious message. I had admired, at least, that each tale wasn't overtly "preachy"--but then as each came to a conclusion, so came the heavy-handed lesson (often delivered in an unnecessary voice-over by Dukakis). It's almost as if the film didn't trust you to make the necessary conclusion for yourself. There's no doubt that Fitzgerald is a talent, "3 Needles" is a grand stretch for him. But as I was left rather uninvolved by what was intended to be heartrending, this has to be called an interesting failure. I'd still recommend it--but its not the important document of our time that it hopes to be. 3 1/2 stars for good intentions and a great cast. KGHarris, 12/06.
"You Killed Me For Eight-Hundred Dollars"
Erica J. Dymond | Bethlehem, PA USA | 06/02/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Thom Fitzgerald has created a haunting, near-perfect work. This piece is divided into three segments:

"The Fortitude of the Buddha":
A mere forty-five minutes in length, this is a potent vignette of a rural Chinese village soon ravaged by AIDS. Lucy Liu plays the role of Jin Ping, a blood smuggler. She travels from village to village collecting blood from its impoverished residents. Initially her presence in this small town is a boon. At five dollars a donation, the residents can purchase seed, livestock, and other agricultural necessities. But, this blessing soon turns dark. Perhaps most painful is watching Jin Ping's internal struggle ... she is aware that her practices are infecting innocent, economically challenged people but cannot stop because she is under the brutal control of her dying husband. The first of the three installments concludes on a quai-triumphant note. This segment is clever and educational. It can easily be viewed and understood by a young adult.

"The Passion of the Christ":
Set in Canada, this segment addresses the fundamental flaws in the adult entertainment industry. Shawn Ashmore (X-Men) plays Denys, an adult-film actor afflicted with AIDS. Young and living at home with his parents, Denys steals his dying father's blood to pass his mandatory AIDS screenings. This triggers an AIDS crisis within the film industry. Following his father's death, mother and AIDS-stricken son are left broke. The mother (Stockard Channing) purchases a life-insurance policy for herself and then begins seeking-out the virus for herself. The results are horrific to say the very least ... a bizarre expression of a mother's unconditional love (maybe!) The conclusion is the young actor being confronted by one of his victims. She looks him in the eye an utters, ""You killed Me for eight-hundred dollars." This segment contains strong dialog, adult situations (in strip clubs and on film sets). It is not appropriate for the majority of young people. Nonetheless, it does serve a purpose in showing the viewer the shocking trend of people deliberately seeking the virus.

"The Innocence of the Pagans":
An all-star cast! Set in a South African nation, Novice Clara (Chloë Sevigny), Sister Mary (Sandra Oh), and Sister Hilde (Olympia Dukakis) have traveled to Africa to "save souls from purgatory" and assist with AIDS afflicted patients. The novice and sisters are appalled to learn that the local men plagued with the AIDS virus believe that having sex with a virgin will rid them of the disease ... and the small children of the area are the victims of this falsehood. Their attempts to bring knowledge and relief to this area are thwarted when the men are jailed for child rape ... with the children "off-limits," other "vessels of purity" are sought. The end result is crushing. Adult language and situations may make this unsuitable for less mature young-viewers so use discretion when screening it with young people.

Each of these segments can easily stand-alone if you wish to use any one for educational purposes. The weakest of the trio is "The Passion of the Christ." While Fitzgerald succeeds in garnering sympathy with "Buddha" and "Pagans" ... "Christ" leaves the viewer repulsed ... and while this approach can be valuable, it strikes a discord with the rest of this fantastic film. Stockard Channing nearly rescues this segment, but it is so repugnant that even her spectacular devotion to role cannot help.

Nonetheless, this is film well-worth your attention. It will leave you speechless."
Moving film.
Preston C. Enright | Denver, CO United States | 12/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I just stumbled upon this film last night on Showtime, I hadn't heard of it, but was totally impressed. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is great, the writing is thoughtful. I was surprised to find so many negative ratings for this film. Maybe it's because "3 Needles" breaks the mold of so many Hollywood films, but that's part of its appeal for me. What is "boring" for one, is contemplative and authentic for another.
The multicultural orientation of this film is another plus in my book, it utilizes five languages (maybe some people don't like reading subtitles).
"3 Needles" also sheds light on issues of sexism, AIDS, exploitation, etc., while also shedding light on how resilient and kind people can be.

There's a scene with a pornstar helping his sick father bathe. Routine moments of elder care like that, which are usually hidden away in our "old folks" homes, will disturb some viewers who fear their own ageing process. I found it to be a touching moment, and like so many scenes of this film, it was captured with great skill.

This film, and many others, are being shown as part of World AIDS Day. "Link TV" and "Sundance" have also been airing programs related to this disease. AIDS is something of a mystery The River : A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS, but there's no doubt that it is having a devastating effect, particularly in Africa. In this era when reactionary forces are fomenting bigotry and empathy impairment, the nuance and internationalism of "3 Needles" is a much appreciated antidote.

I'd also recommend:
The Advocate
Angels in America
On Our Own Terms Moyers on Dying 4 Volume Set
5 Heroes of AIDS in Africa
Lifecycles: a story of AIDS in Malawi
And the Band Played On
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope