Marcel Proust's Time Regained (1999)
"Le temps retrouvé, d'après l'oeuvre de Marcel Proust" (original title)

 |  Drama, Romance, War  |  19 May 1999 (France)
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Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is on his deathbed. Looking at photographs brings memories of his childhood, his youth, his lovers, and the way the Great War put an end to a stratum of society. ... See full summary »



(novel), (scenario), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pascal Greggory ...
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Le Prince de Foix


Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is on his deathbed. Looking at photographs brings memories of his childhood, his youth, his lovers, and the way the Great War put an end to a stratum of society. His memories are in no particular order, they move back and forth in time. Marcel at various ages interacts with Odette, with the beautiful Gilberte and her doomed husband, with the pleasure-seeking Baron de Charlus, with Marcel's lover Albertine, and with others; present also in memory are Marcel's beloved mother and grandmother. It seems as if to live is to remember and to capture memories is to create a work of great art. The memories parallel the final volume of Proust's novel. Written by <>

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Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

19 May 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Marcel Proust's Time Regained  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


FFR 65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$21,413 (USA) (16 June 2000)


$461,493 (USA) (15 December 2000)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Le temps retrouvé (Vocalise)
Written by Jorge Arriagada
Performed by Natalie Dessay (soprano)
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User Reviews

The hollowness of spiritual equivalents
24 July 2011 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Ruiz was quite something back in the 80's, one of the most promising filmmakers I have recently discovered. He made films that throbbed with magic volition, with steps travelling inwards to the place where images are born. It was a dangerous cinema, sultry with the impossible.

Then came the second phase, the period of maturity as it were. More prestigious films starting in the mid-90's, starring actors of standing (Mastroyanni, Huppert, here Deneuve and Malkovich) and with some clout of respectability. Watching these makes me cherish so much more the spontaneous upheaval of Three Crowns or City of Pirates.

So, this is the landmark film of that second phase, a bulky, sprawling film about French writer Marcel Proust and his work. About sprawling deathbed recollections of a life lived, arranged into a story about stories in an attempt to reveal something of their machinations (and ours in weaving them in the mind, before or after the event).

It is a noble effort, with multiple points of interest.

Oh the sets are sumptuous, roomfuls of an impeccably dressed society at the doorstep of disaster—WWI is booming away in close proximity—who mingle in coquetry at the clinking sounds of fine glassware. Vice as the last means of sating a self that can never seem to please itself. Bunuel stuff.

Charmingly amusing tidbits abound, sure—a scene at the funeral, for example, of a decorated general, whose wife takes solace in a stash of letters she discovered written by the deceased brave. We know, of course, that the love pouring out of them was no doubt intended for his secret homosexual lover.

Now all of this as memory, with the narrator present and included in the scene of it. And then a camera—the internal narrator of memory—that introduces the distorted distance of time, this is quite marvelous, as actually reordering reality—furniture move around on whims, our narrator. Fine stuff so far.

But, this really falls with Proust's ideas on the role of fiction, the thinking man so hopelessly removed from the actual, tangible things of life, that he can only find solace in turning them to their spiritual equivalents. Who instead of loving, can only write about love; who wastes the manifold possibilities of 'now!' in tinkering with dead time.

Earlier filmmakers astutely exposed this destructive facet for what it is; a chimera of the mind that traps the soul in old films of memory. Resnais in his fascinating overall project about memory, Antonioni in Blowup, earlier yet it was film noir. Beckett has captured the dissication better than anyone, pungent stuff his. Ruiz by contrast romances the idea as though it was a pleasant stroll. He romances it so earnestly that it drains his entire film.

It is all so fine—like the glassware—so refined and pliable with some grace of apparent form. But a form refined to the point of ornament and sofness, mere trinket that is hollow and devoid of life. No other filmmaker once promising I can think of, matured into so much indifference.

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