›› Time to Leave - Le temps qui reste
a film by François Ozon.
2005 | 78 mins | France.
principal players: Melvil Poupaud / Romain, Jeanne Moreau / Romain's Grandmother Laura, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi / Jany, Daniel Duval / Romain's father, Marie Rivière / Romain's mother, Christian Sengewald / Sasha and Louise-Anne Hippeau as Romain's sister Sophie.
Adapted Synopsis: "Romain; a thirty-year-old fashion photographer has it all, only to see his perfect life thrown into chaos by the shock diagnosis of terminal cancer. Seemingly unable to share the news with his boyfriend or family, Romain confides the reality of his own mortality solely in his grandmother. But anger and denial are soon to give way to acceptance, when a chance encounter with a waitress offers Romain the unexpected opportunity to leave something of himself behind."
As a companion piece to his earlier work Under the Sand, acclaimed writer and director François Ozon paints a vivid picture of life and death, along the way turning the genre on its head, as we encounter Romain facing his demise on his own terms, rebelling against both medical advice and almost all that he holds dear. Unable or unwilling to say goodbye to the ones he loves, this is a man who instead sets out to hurt those close to him, opting to force friends and family to do the separation for him; be it his parents, his sister or his adoring male lover.
Only it is a cold heart that is set to be warmed, for and with a spoiler warning firmly in place, Romain finds himself confiding in his grandmother, that of a lady in the twilight of life herself and who here is gloriously played by renowned French actress Jeanne Moreau. For it is their time together that forms the heart and soul of the film, as Romain finally let's rip on long suppressed emotions, as both come to reflect on selfish acts made and the reasons behind them. Now seen in a new light, Romain sets out to make amends of sorts, with his sister, with his now ex boyfriend Sasha and critically with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi of Cockles & Muscles fame who as a waitress in need of a child from a sterile husband, makes for a threesome of the reproductive kind.
Lovers anew in Time to Leave.
Yet and in as much as this is not a film about sex, Ozon nevertheless pays specific attention to the frankness of his work, given no-one can be in any doubt as to the nature of Romain's sexual orientation, with Poupaud and his onscreen lover Christian Sengewald both sporting erections during their passionate time together, even if the jury appears to be out over whether such are real or rubber? Whatever way, such is the overt sexuality of the piece that a S&M styled backroom sequence of the Cruising variety, finds itself nesting alongside scenes of outright tenderness, with Romain frequently shown taking photos of those he loves.
Lovers that were in Time to Leave.
For in a film that revolves around one character, Melvil (Laurence Anyways) Poupaud plays with remarkable honesty the emotionally demanding role, just as Ozon has delivered an immensely rewarding cinematic experience, never letting sentimentality get in his way, as he skilfully turns an unsympathetic character into a man thinking of others come the sunset of his life, namely the time that remains, as per the original and far more apt French title. Intercut with a series of childhood photos, this all too real introspective piece in coming full circle, speaks volumes on the symmetry of life itself. Achingly poignant, kind of goes without saying, as does the home truth that this could well prove to be just too painful a viewing experience for some, inspite of many a touching flashback sequence. Beautifully shot and staged, nonetheless.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - the erect monty (?).
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.