›› Time to Leave - Le temps qui reste ‹‹

a film by François Ozon.

2005 | 81 mins | France.

an achingly poignant picture of the symmetry of life.

Dave says:

From acclaimed writer and director François Ozon comes this vivid picture of life and death that in true Ozon fashion, finds the genre literally turned on its head.

For this is the story of Romain (Melvil Poupaud); a thirty-year-old fashion photographer who seemingly has it all, only for his life to be 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 to his grandmother. Only could a chance encounter with a childless waitress offer Romain the unexpected opportunity to leave something of himself behind?

In short, here we find a man who not only rebels against medical advice, but almost all he holds dear, opting to face his demise on his own terms, clearly unable or unwilling to say goodbye to the ones he loves, deliberately going out of his way to hurt those close to him, so as to force friends and family to do the parting for him; be it his parents (Daniel Duval and Marie Rivière), his sister Sophie (Louise-Anne Hippeau), or his adoring male lover Sasha (Christian Sengewald).

Only it's a cold heart that's set to be warmed, as Romain's time spent with his loving grandmother, namely a lady in the twilight of life herself and who here is wonderfully played by renowned French actress Jeanne Moreau, forms the heart and soul of the film. Reflecting on selfish acts made, Romain seen frequently taking photos of those he loves, now and by no surprise sets out to make amends of sorts with his sister, his ex boyfriend and critically with waitress Jany (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) in a threesome with a difference.

Gay-to-the-core and then some, including a S&M styled backroom sequence of the Cruising variety, above all however this beautifully shot and staged feature is but an achingly poignant picture of the symmetry of life. And whilst it largely revolves around one character, with Poupaud excelling in the emotional roller coaster of Romain's life, Ozon never lets sentimentality get in the way of the story, instead skilfully turning an unsympathetic character into a man thinking of others in the 'remaining time' he has left on this world, as per the original and far more apt French title. Only and for all of the positives of this film, this is a work that could prove to be just too painful a viewing experience for some, in spite of many a touching flashback sequence. Deeply moving; goes without saying.

›› available as part of the Artificial Eye catalogue: 25th September, 2006 / UK.
›› revised: Saturday, 26th November, 2022.

Gay Visibility - overt | Nudity - the full monty | Overall - file under ... 4 stars

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