Marcel Proust's Time Regained

1999 [FRENCH]

Drama / Romance / War

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

John Malkovich Photo
John Malkovich as Le Baron de Charlus
Catherine Deneuve Photo
Catherine Deneuve as Odette de Crecy
Emmanuelle Béart Photo
Emmanuelle Béart as Gilberte
Vincent Perez Photo
Vincent Perez as Morel
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.46 GB
French 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 42 min
P/S 25 / 34
3 GB
French 5.1
23.976 fps
2 hr 42 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by richard-17877 / 10

A remarkable movie if you know Proust but aren't looking for him

If you're looking for a movie that faithfully reduces In Search of Lost Time to 2 hours or so, this isn't it. But then, that's impossible, so you will be frustrated in your search.

What this is is a problematic movie.

If you don't know Proust's 4000 page novel, In Search of Lost Time, I suspect a lot of this movie won't make sense to you. If you do know it, on the other hand, you might be upset that X does not look like Proust's character A, that Y scene was left out, etc.

So, the best way to enjoy this movie - and there is a lot in it to enjoy - is to know Proust's novel well enough so that you can make sense of the movie, but then to forget about it and treat this as a movie that is not trying to film Proust's novel.

I could go on about the way the film jumps from scene to scene based on recollections of the narrator. One might say that that's Proustian, but Proust does not in fact jump from one short scene to the next. So I'll leave that aside.

What this is, for me - and I have seen the movie several times - is a remarkable collection of performances by some of France's greatest actors and actresses - and John Malkovich. The performances by Catherine Deneuve (as Odette; no, she does not look at all like I had imagined Odette from the novel, but she is radiant in this movie),Emmanuelle Béart (as Gilberte Swann; ditto),John Malkovich (Charlus; ditto in spades; he does not look at all like Proust describes Charlus, but he creates a remarkably moving and coherent character),Vincent Perez (Morel; he may look like Proust's Morel, but he gives him more depth),and Marie-France Pisier (Mme Verdurin) are all absolutely first rate, beautiful to watch. They make the film for me. Other characters important in Proust are either reduced to very small roles (the Duke and Duchess de Guermantes, the Prince and Princess de G) or vanish altogether (Swann, Marcel's father). But watching the above great actors and actresses give great performances is, for me, the great value of this movie.

If you want Proust, you'll just have to read it.

But if you want to see some of France's greatest actors and actresses at their best, you could do a lot worse than this movie.

Reviewed by alice liddell10 / 10

Arguably the greatest adaptation of a classic; certainly the greatest film since CHUNGKING EXPRESS.

At long, long last. In a year of false hopes and broken promises, here is the real thing, a genuine cinematic masterpiece that after one viewing you've only read the introduction. It's everything that art-house cinema is accused of - elitist, over-intellectual, precious, elliptical, methodically paced, privileging mise-en-scene over virtues like plot or motivated characterisation. It is also a model of literary adaptation that will hopefully, once and for all, put certain practitioners out of business; the most visually astonishing (not in the sense of merely beautiful, but achieving effects you didn't think possible),funny and emotional film in years, and the first new film I've wanted to squeeze to my heart since CHUNGKING EXPRESS.

In one way at least, it's even an improvement on Proust's sublime novel, which frequently breaks off to offer remarkable guides on how to write and to live life. These are indispensable to anyone who wants to exist to the full as a human being, but, uncorrected when Proust died, they are often wearingly repetitive and confused.

Ruiz finds economical, jaw-dropping, incisive ways to show what Proust wanted to say. Because this isn't anything so common as a film of the book - it is an interpretation, a deconstruction, a reimagining. Proust, like Nabokov, sets traps for the unwary reader, and because the narrator seems so convincingly Proustian in the detail, it's easy to confuse him with Proust in the spirit. But M. is a deeply flawed, unreliable narrator who does not always see what's in front of him, who, riven by jealousy, prejudice, snobbery, malady and self-laceration, is not always the most objective observer.

Ruiz emphasises this by foregrounding the seeming differences between himself and Proust as artists: Proust advocates an active, conscious reclamation of ourselves and our pasts; Ruiz, a Surrealist, explores the Unconscious. Proust was the most notorious rewriter in the history of literature, every sentence subjected to the most rigourous scrutiny, yet he died without fully revising Le Temps Retrouve. This leaves the text filled with gaps, omissions, contradictions, 'mistakes', slips, an ultimate loss of control - the perfect ground for a Surrealist excavation.

Ruiz reveals M.'s essential powerlessness, his yielding to the power of the Unconscious; M. thinks he makes a decision to discover the past; Ruiz shows from the very beginning of the film, how he has no choice.

What Surrealism does best is to show the terrifying instability of the seemingly stable, everyday, domestic, fixed. This fits in with Proust's project, because his stepping outside of Time shows how amorphous Time is. A centuries-old society, with huge mansions and manors, inhabited by fixed personnages with fixed names and personalities, in a significant period (the Belle Epoque giving onto World War One) is actually shown to be deeply unstable, perceived as it is though the mind of M., who is constantly changing - his social status his body (through sickness),his self-perception and view of the world and of literature etc.

The opening sequence is masterly illustrative. The real Proust lies in the near-dark in bed, wheezingly ill, reciting his work to his faithful servant, Celeste. Here is an image of wholeness, fact, legend - a great writer writes his great book. But the scene is riven with instability: Proust lies immobile in his bed, while his objects and ornaments move freely around the room.

This is a motif that reverberates throughout the film, the elegant freedom of the dominating, crowding bibelots, and the rigid, sterile, geometrical movements of the people who are supposed to own them. But it also shows a heartening split between mind and body: while the latter lies inert and dying, the former remains vibrant and transformative.

Where to begin with Ruiz's awe-inspiring masterwork? The sublime play with mirrors and cameras, revealing great truths about perception, deception, mediation, objectivity, subjectivity, revelation and concealment? The play of different selves throughout the film, where the monstrously aged, through memory, can return to their former beautiful selves, culminating in an astonishing climactic sequence where M. in his three guises (protagonist/narrator of the film (even this is split, narrated in voiceover by a different person),the author of the book-film, and himself as a young man that allows the other two to exist) as he wanders, Alice-like (a haunting, Surrealist presence thoughout the film) through the classical ruins of time, linked to the impossibility of one, fixed work of art?

The complex analysis of role-play, on the one hand liberating one from a fixed self, on the other repressing one (in terms of social positoin, reputation etc.)? The role of of reenactment in the recovery of the past, and its transmutation through subjective perception? The subtle changes and omissions that Ruiz deliberately employs to interrogate the emphasis of Proust's work? The connection between voyeurism (existing in a society like being imprisoned in a panopoticon),and the necessary observation of the artist to reveal truth?

Ruiz's canny casting, emphasising allusive qualities, e.g. mother and daughter Deneuve, and a hero played by a man with a similar name to their lover/husband? Alain Robbe-Grillet, doyen of formal games in country houses? Edith Scob, Franju muse of broken, fragile beauty, playing dessicated Oriane? the link between the narrator, director Patrice Chereau, and two of the film's stars who have also appeared in one of his films?

The profusion of different artforms which combine to create a moment of such great emotion that I, with M. cried? The teasing play between the protagonist, his creator and this film's creator? The amusing variations on the theme of prostitution? The film's action actually only consists of three elaborate episodes, but the plot floods with the past and the future, the real and imagined, the fictional and historical (or, more correctly, meta-fictional),theory and practice.

It should not be forgotten that there are other, simpler pleasures beloved of historical-film fans - the country-houses with their astonishing avenues; the town mansions with their vast halls; the choreography of the party scenes; the sublime costumes; the elaborate recreation of a time and place. The film is very funny as well as deeply emotional, and though pawns in a Surrealist game, the wonderful actors reveal great depth, although Marcello Mazzerella stands out as a hero more sympathetic than Proust's. But it is Ruiz who is the real star, locating the hidden meaning of the book with startling, disturbing, enigmatic, elegantly polished images, as well as a rare ravishing feel for both nature and artifice.

Reviewed by FloatingOpera710 / 10

Proust's Masterpiece Treated As A Sumptuous Film

Le Temps Retrouve or Time Regained (1999): Starring Marcello Mazarella, Vincent Perez, Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Beart, John Malkovitch, Pascal Gregory, Marie-France Pisier, Chiara Mastriani, Arielle Dombasle, Edith Scob, Elsa Zyberstein, Christian Vadim, Dominique Labourier, Phillip Genoud, Melvil Poupad, Mathilde Seigner, Jacques Pieler, Hele Surgere, Andre Engel, Georges Du Fresne, Lucien Pascal, Jerome Prieur, Bernard Paitrat, Jean Claude Jay, Director Raoul Ruiz "In this book is written your life and the life of all men" said the Angel of Death, " to review it would take an eternity"...........

Based on Marcel Proust's "Au Recherche Du Temps Perdu " or "Remembrance Of Things Past", largely considered not only a classic of French literature but possibly the world's longest literary work, this is director Raoul Ruiz' stunning film adaptation, released in 1999. This film received numerous awards, and the Cannes Film Festival ate it up, much like one long French banquet, complete with French wine. True to the novels (Swann's Way, Guermantez, Swann In Love),we follow the life of Marcel Proust, beginning with the end, that is, his death. Wracked with consumption, he is on his deathbed and his mind drifts from memory to memory, reliving his life and encountering all the people in it. Veteran French actress Catherine Deneuve stars as the brazen courtesan Odette. While perhaps Deneuve is too old for the part of a lively woman of leisure and lady of the night, she manages to capture the spirit of the character without a single flaw, being the terrific actress she is. John Malkovich turns his back on America momentarily to become French in the role of the Baron Du Charlus, who talks a big deal but is essentially a licentious and unsympathetic character. Vincent Perez is Morel, who engages in one affair after another (unlike Proust who appears to love only Odette and Gilberte (the beautiful and talented Emmanuelle Beart),his childhood sweetheart. Child actor Georges Du Fresne gets a lot of screen time as Marcel when he was a young boy. The most attractive aspects of the film, as everyone generally concurs, is the cinematography and art direction, which, while admittedly dreamy and glamorous, is quite frankly, Proustian. The camera moves freely, floating ghost-like between characters, giving us access to their conversations and private moments. There's a mix of intense natural sunlight and "evening" blue colors in the nightlife scenes. I can't describe how magical the movie's look truly is. The costumes are authentic to the Edwardian Era and World War I period (1900-1918). Though this film doesn't cover the historic aspects in too much detail (the various aristocratic characters i.e. the Guermantes, princes, dukes and princesses- speak of World War I, the German enemy and the aftermath of the Great War including the Spanish Flu Epidemic),the film manages to believably encompass a time and place, though perhaps the film "1900" does a better job of this. Fans of Marcel Proust will delighted, even if some portions are omitted but truthfully a film adaptation of the Proust "Time" cycle would take over 6 hours. Some people seem to miss some of the more shocking portions of the film. Proust was a bisexual writer who attempted to document the Belle Epoque as he lived it. In this film, we are presented with gay and lesbian characters - Albert and Albertine. There are two scenes which, subtle as they were, were quite powerful such as the scene in which Proust peeks in to Albert's bedroom door and discovers he has a sadomasichistic/erotic relationship with a male lover. Also, even while Proust is dying, he pays Odette money to perform oral sex on him. These little things are overlooked in the course of a long and beautiful film, with actors who truly live their role and give them nuance and color. One character in particular, Morel's American girlfriend, interjects the English words "It's absolutely disgusting!" during gossip of the Duchess and the Duke. This film is an enjoyable historic film, with a late 90's European film gloss and a feeling of respect and reverence for Marcel Proust. Wonderful and haunting, full of poignant moments and mesmerizing, at times magic realist moments. This film is sure to delight all Francophiles everywhere. Enjoy!

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