TIME TO LEAVE
When Romain (Melvil Poupaud), a self-absorbed gay fashion photographer, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he doesn't want anyone to know about his illness. Confused and isolated, he brutally shuts everyone out of his life; his partner Sasha (Christian Sengewald), his family and even his doctor (Henri de Lorme). The only person he confides in is his grandmother, Laura (Jeanne Moreau), who has been estranged from the family for many years. Knowing his time is running out, Romain uses the camera to capture tender moments that are very different from the high-profile fashion shoots he is used to. Then one day a waitress in a café (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) makes him a surprising proposition.
Review by Louise Keller:
There's a subtle but important mood difference in the French title and English translation of Francois Ozon's film, Time To Leave. The English title implies leaving the present, whereas the French title, Le Temps qui Reste, concentrates on using the time that is left. I prefer the optimistic French view, which creates the semblance that there is a choice. Ozon's second film in his trilogy about death and mourning (the first, Under The Sand canvassed the death of a loved one), Romain (Melvil Poupaud) is forced to cope with the daunting news of his own imminent death. Despite his inability to do anything about his illness, Romain does have a choice - about how to spend his last days.
With great delicacy and subtlety, Ozon unravels the complications of Romain's life, allowing him to face eternity in peace. Instead of making peace with the parents (Daniel Duval, Marie Rivière) who don't understand him, the sister (Louise-Anne Hippeau) who irks him, and Sasha, the lover (Christian Sengewald) who frustrates him, Romain decides to make peace with himself. The only family member in whom he confides is his adored grandmother Laura, and the casting of the legendary Jeanne Moreau adds great poignancy. Now he is no longer working as a fashion photographer, the photos he chooses to take are quite different. He clicks his digital camera to record what he sees, when his emotions are spilling uncontrollably. He snaps the park around him when coming to terms with the news; he snaps his estranged sister as she cuddles her baby; he snaps Sasha when he is asleep; he snaps Laura from the car window, when they have said their last goodbyes.
Romain's salvation comes by chance, when Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's waitress asks him an unexpected favour. The ramifications of what happens next give Romain a direction he had never anticipated and Ozon treats these scenes with the greatest of respect. A touching and haunting film that is more uplifting than its central theme suggests, Time To Leave leaves us with much to reflect upon, and consider. 'Beaches are timeless spaces, they provide abstraction and purity,' says Ozon, whose love of the beach and the sunset (shown to effect recently in 5 x 2) are again used effectively.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Acclaimed French filmmaker Francois Ozon likes to poke about in the deepest recesses of the human condition, exploring emotion and intellect as a unified element (eg Under the Sand, Swimming Pool). Time To Leave is perhaps his darkest film of late, but he handles the themes of premature death with the wisdom and skill of a master - and with admirable economy.
It's a dense film, focused on Romain, a well formed characterisation by Melvil Poupaud, and Ozon's area of interest is how this successful 31 year old who makes a living in the high profile fashion photography industry responds to the sudden ending of his life. His instinct is to push everyone away, but he finds that almost as painful as the prospect of dying. Flashbacks take us into his memories where he recalls with nostalgic pain the days of his childhood - and how it has impacted on his present state of mind.
Although the subject is sombre, Ozon manages to keep the mood serious without being depressing and the story of Romain stumbling into a couple's fertility crisis adds poignancy to the film, without appearing to be merely a device. Of course, it is a device in the sense that it provides dramatic material for the filmmaker, and a symbolically powerful positive note for the audience.
Great work from Jeanne Moreau as the beloved grandmother and from Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in a small but crucial role; indeed all supports are excellent, with a haunting cameo from Daniel Duval as Romain's father.
Email this article
TIME TO LEAVE (MA)
Le Temps qui reste
CAST: Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Daniel Duval, Marie Riviere, Christian Sengewald, Louise-Anne Hippeau, Henri de Lorme, Walter Pagano
PRODUCER: Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonier
DIRECTOR: Francois Ozon
SCRIPT: Francois Ozon
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeanne Lapoirie
EDITOR: Monica Coleman
MUSIC: (non original) Marc-Antoine Charpontier, Arvo Part, Valentin Silvestrov
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Katia Wyszkop
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 30, 2006