Proust juiced

TIME REGAINED directed by Raul Ruiz, adapted from the novel by Marcel Proust .


TIME REGAINED directed by Raul Ruiz,

adapted from the novel by Marcel Proust

by Ruiz and Gilles Taurand, produced by

Paolo Branco, with Marcello Mazzarella,

Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle

Beart, Marie-France Pisier and

John Malkovich. A Gemini Films/Canal+

production. 155 minutes. Opens Friday

(March 23) at Cinematheque Ontario. For

dates and times, see Rep Cinemas, page

98. Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN

raul ruiz’s adaptation of the

last two books of Proust’s Remembrance Of Things Past, Time Regained, is an exquisite dream of a film. With camera movements like caresses and a genuinely Proustian sense of time, it is the highlight of Cinematheque Ontario’s four-film Proust mini-series.The huge cast of characters is very well served here, with special notice to Emmanuelle Beart’s chilly perfection as Gilberte, Marie-France Pisier’s magnificently vulgar Mme Verdurin and John Malkovich’s exquisitely malevolent Baron de Charlus

Ruiz, an Argentine fabulist, has been compared to everyone from Lewis Carroll to Borges and Bunuel. His sensibility is a uniquely apt match for the very difficult source material. Of the three adaptations in the Cinematheque program, Time Regained alone shows an appreciation for the rococo decadence of the period’s late art nouveau style, and only it realizes that the fantastically ornate chinoiserie of Gilberte’s teacups is as important, in its way, as a scene where characters visit a male brothel.

By comparison, Volker Schlondorff’s narrative manipulation leads to a reductionist effect in Swann In Love, and the blank modern settings of Chantal Akerman’s La Captive simply miss the point

The other treat in the Cinematheque program is Percy Adlon’s Celeste, the story of Proust’s final days told from the point of view of his housekeeper, played by Fassbinder regular Eva Mattes.

Remarkably, two years after its premiere in the Cannes Competition, Time Regained is getting its first Toronto release. Not to be missed. At this early point, it’s the best film of the year.

johnh@nowtoronto.com

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