Franz Rogowski (Tomas) and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Agathe) in Passages | CREDIT: SBS PRODUCTIONS

Within the realm of cinema, certain actors possess a magnetic allure that transcends the screen. Franz Rogowski, a name that may be new to some but resonates deeply with cinephiles, is a brilliant testament to this. His journey in the world of film is marked by a rare quality that defies conventional storytelling and invites audiences to experience something extraordinary. With notable works like Michael Haneke’s Happy End, his roles in Christian Petzold’s Transit and Undine, and his most recent wonder in Ira Sachs’ Passages, Rogowski has established himself as an up and coming force on the silver screen.

Franz Rogowski’s journey to cinematic stardom is as unique as it is captivating. His background in dance, where he mastered the art of expressing universal concepts through body language, has seamlessly translated into his acting career. “In dance, you work with universal concepts, like the architecture of your body. You don’t say any lines…” he reflects. Rogowski’s ability to communicate without words is his secret weapon, infusing authenticity into his characters.

Rogowski’s presence on screen is a phenomenon. His performances are characterized by an impulsive energy that defies the confines of a script. It’s the kind of magnetism that draws the audience in, making them forget they are watching a character and not a real person. This unique quality has set him apart in the film industry and allowed him to become a highly sought after actor in the industry.

Rogowski offers a glimpse into his unique creative process. He acknowledges the importance of preparation but also highlights the beauty of discovering a character during filming. “I like to prepare, but it leads to me knowing my lines, not really knowing who I am. Once you start shooting, you create a character,” he shares. His approach is collaborative and immersive, a testament to his commitment to authenticity.

In a recent Dazed interview, Rogowski touched upon America’s contradictory views on filmed sex, a social issue that deserves deeper examination. He points out, “In Berlin, nobody would dare give this kind of rating to a movie that has a very artistic approach towards sex… There’s nothing offensive in [Passages]. I hope a lot of teenagers get to see it.” This comment begs attention to be brought onto the ongoing issue of the perception of sex in America. The United States grapples with the paradox of a thriving pornography industry coexisting with pervasive guilt and shame associated with on-screen sexuality. The taboo surrounding LGBTQ+ sex scenes in mainstream American films, despite growing acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights, adds another layer to this complexity. In contrast, European countries often view sex in films as a form of artistic expression, rather than a source of moral dilemma. Films, such as Passages, serve as hope in breaking through the barrier and stigma of sex, especially queer sex, in films in America.

Franz Rogowski continues to captivate audiences worldwide. His unique qualities make him a standout in the world of cinema. As we celebrate his ongoing exceptional career, let’s also reflect on the intricate social constructs surrounding sex in films. In this exploration, we uncover the essence of modern cinema—a place where authenticity, complexity, and talent converge.