Time Regained

"Excellent"

Time Regained Review


A literal adaptation of the final book of Marcel Proust's Remembrances of Things Past would be inconceivable and boring, since the tastes and smells which reveal layers of memory cannot be captured onscreen. Raoul Ruiz's Time Regained does the next best thing. Ruiz weaves a fragmented, experimental narrative in the form of a tapestry. There's an uncanny beauty achieved by telling his story in this manner, which reveals thoughts and inactions by using the very limitations of the film medium. He presents us with a series of photographs, or images shot into mirrors or through doorways which open up to the past and present (and cross-cut between the two with relative ease.)

Taking place within the huge estates and manor houses of the cultural elite, with string quartets playing in their studies and tiny cakes neatly arranged on trays in their kitchens, our main character, Marcel (Marcelo Mazzarello) wanders through this world drinking it in. The plot is inconsequential, it is more about observing the crowded rooms and bitten back emotions, the sips of wine and soft handshakes. Every now and then, Marcel is forced to confront his decadent relatives (sneeringly funny John Malkovich and sour Pascal Greggory.)

Ruiz cleverly stages a prologue with the elder Proust (Andre Engel, voiced by filmmaker Patrice Chereau) wasting away in his bedroom, the best years of his life behind him, reciting passages from his book to his servant girl and allowing the objects in the room to trigger thoughts about his family, his would-be lovers (particularly Odette, the woman who haunts him his entire life, played by the elegant Catherine Deneuve) and loved ones, his enemies and his false friends.

Ruiz is a master at keeping his themes and meaning palatable and comprehensible even when shifting from the main character's childhood to middle age, or having the child and adult version of the protagonist onscreen at the same time. It doesn't feel pretentious, since Ruiz clearly has a sincere fondness for this main character. The stand-in for Marcel Proust, Mazzarello, doesn't emote very much as he wanders aimlessly through the elegant locations, but he has deep and friendly eyes and a sad smile half hidden under his moustache.

Marcel finds himself jumping back and forth in these memories, and one starts to wonder how much he has romanticized that past? He may be remarkably similar to the stuffed shirts who surround him, sitting in their circles, smoking cigars and wondering who's who in terms of reputation and their place in the ladder of class structure. Ultimately, those things don't matter, and fade away. In the film's best scene, we see his half mad colleague and former nemesis, Charlus (Malkovich) lead him through the park as they discuss their old friends. "How is this one...? Mort. How is that one? Mort." In the dialogue within this exchange, Proust's philosophy is revealed. Things fade away, and all we have is this small, precious present moment in time - everything else passes into dust.

It's a difficult film to catch hold of, and demands enormous patience and a willingness to allow yourself the ability to drink in this film, as though it were some very rich cake to be savored. It demands to be eaten slowly, and to slowly fill you up. It's not for every occasion, though, or for every audience. Those unwilling to submit to a slow paced, metaphysical project may quickly grow frustrated with this item, but if you allow it to be an interactive experience, you may well consider memories of your own through the process of watching - and that's worth more than any film could offer.

Aka Le temps retrouvé,



Time Regained

Facts and Figures

Run time: 169 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 19th May 1999

Distributed by: Kino International

Production compaines: Gemini Films, France 2 Cinéma, Les Films du Lendemain

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Odette de Crecy, as Gilberte, as Morel, as Le Baron de Charlus, as Saint-Loup, Marcello Mazzarella as Marcel Proust

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.