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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)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,718 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 29 user | 45 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

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 »

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Title: Marcel Proust's Time Regained (1999)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Morel
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Pascal Greggory ...
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Madame de Farcy
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Rachel
Christian Vadim ...
Bloch
Dominique Labourier ...
Philippe Morier-Genoud ...
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Le Prince de Foix
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

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Release Date:

19 May 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Marcel Proust's Time Regained  »

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Box Office

Budget:

FFR 65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$461,493 (USA) (15 December 2000)
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1.85 : 1
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Soundtracks

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

 
A few more touches and it would've been really overwhelming
24 July 2000 | by (Encinadas, Mexique) – See all my reviews

Fans of 8-1/2 and Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini's two most Proustian films by way of Jung) take note: Here's another worthy contender to those two masterpieces. It damn near reaches their level and it sure looks expensive and ultra-authentic, and only time will tell if it holds up as well.

If you've read some Proust (I've only read around a 1000 pages of 'The Guermantes Way' myself and it was at turns the toughest, the most excruciatingly boring and most deeply rewarding reading I've ever inflicted on myself), you will know exactly where this movie is coming from; if you haven't, make plans to read some later, but watch this movie with the knowledge that there is NO STORY IN THE CONVENTIONAL SENSE; it is about how a person's memory works and how and what it chooses to remember and forget and how all these different things effect each other, blah, blah. It aims for the spirit of the books and a taste of what their atmosphere is like, and knows that to even approach this humble end it must, at the very least, begin by pushing the means of the cinema to their limit. It is not stupid enough to think it can equal the intellectual effect of Proustian prose. That would be absurd and impossible.

So how does Ruiz's film fare? Suffice it to say that it does not take long to realize that this not a pretentious film but a deeply thought out, planned, and fully realized one. If it manages to capture the spirit of Proustian investigation, it did not do this easily and don't expect to digest it in one or two viewings. You will certainly be immediately impressed though, I'll tell you that much. Be prepared to ACTIVELY participate rather than be DONE TO. There are constant shifts of time period between the different stages of Proust's life and the fully mobile camera never stands still for your convenience.

The acting is top notch and multi-faceted all the way and the production design is magnificent. Although it certainly looks very expensive, I can't imagine anyone doing a better job with less, except maybe Truffaut (Jules and Jim) or Renoir (French CanCan). There are plenty of distractions along the way, especially the butt-gorgeous Emmanuel Beart for us helpless men of hetero persuasion, not to mention the jaw-dropping, classical beauty of Chiara Mastroianni in her one scene, which she steals. On second viewing, after having just watched the Coen brothers' ultra-subtle and hilariously clever 'Blood Simple,' I did vaguely detect some weaknesses that someone like Eric Rohmer or Rossellini and Scorsese in their prime would have been careful to authenticate to 3 dimensions; but they weren't noticeable enough to put your finger on right away.

I have never seen another Ruiz film before, but I think that the greatest thing he did here was to let Proust's general sense of things, his ultra-cultured neurotic sensibility, become his co-director on the film. I'm sure, at the very least, he made all his actors read the book he was adapting and discussed it with them thoroughly. Just the experience of doing that will enrich the aspirations and imagination of any actor, because Proust's writing is all about going into long analyses of things that may seem trivial at first glance.

All I can say is Ruiz really blew me away on this film and I can't wait to see what else he had up his sleeve all these years that I've been missing his movies.


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