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Time To Leave: Le Temps Qui Reste – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Romain (Poupaud) is a young fashion photographer, as successful as he is arrogant, as talented as he is cantankerous.
Out of the blue, he suddenly starts blacking out. Medical tests show he has terminal cancer.
His doctors tell him that medication could relieve his symptoms and prolong his life, but he’s not interested. He wants nature to take its course.
Withdrawing from everyone around him, including his boyfriend, family and colleagues, he becomes even more cantankerous, and runs off to wind down with his grandmother (Moreau).
She’s the only person he’ll open up to, because – in his frank words to her – she’ll be dead soon too.
As he sees his own life slip away, a chance encounter gives him a way to bring a new life into the world, in this no-nonsense, unsentimental study of impending death.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

If the film sounds depressing, it is. Apart from a few darkly comic moments – mostly featuring age-given wisdom of one of the Grandes Dames of French cinema, Jeanne Moreau – there is little light relief in this film.
Ozon is a film-maker with a clear vision, but in this case, it’s not necessarily a vision an audience would want to share.
His previous film, 5×2, also starred Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, in a study of the death of a marriage – this time, he treats the subject more literally. But following a man’s withdrawal into himself as he speeds towards his own demise, there’s not actually that much going on, and even at an hour and twenty minutes in length, it drags at times.
Poupaud rises to the occasion, matching Moreau and Bruni-Tedeschi in stature as he leads the cast, but his superciliousness makes it hard for us to sympathise with him, making the film emotionally rather unengaging.

opens nationwide 11th May 2006

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