The final installment of Marcel Proust's multi-volume Rememberance of Things Past. Time memory and the blending of reality and fiction combine to create an unforgettable cinematic experience as proust looks back on his lif... more »e from his deathbed. Studio: Kino International Release Date: 03/27/2001 Starring: Catherine Deneuve Vincent Perez Run time: 158 minutes« less
"I have been a fan of Proust's novel for a long time, and I eagerly awaited this movie, having read articles about its making and, later, reviews of it. Yet I managed to miss it during the, oh, three days it played in the theater here. So I ordered the DVD the minute it became available, and I had two reactions: 1) For the Proust devotee, this is an amazing, beautiful film, probably the best that ever could be done in capturing the complexity and haunting quality of the novels. But 2) The DVD is a real disappointment: the subtitles obscure the image itself (instead of appearing below it), and they're white, set against what often is a dazzlingly white background. And of course you can't turn them off. So you can't get rid of the damn things, and you can't read them either. The image itself (the parts you can see) is pristine and gorgeous, and the sound is superb. And the movie itself--well, it's a masterpiece. Will you be able to follow it if you haven't read the books? I think so--parts will seem enigmatic, but then that's not such a bad thing. The overall story and point will, I think, be quite clear, and quite moving.Incidentally, I agree with the reviewer who said Malkovich is miscast. I love his work in general, but he seems out of place here, and it's all too clear that he had to re-loop much of his French dialogue. Still, the role he plays, and the way the director defined that role, are so interesting that you can overlook his performance somewhat."
A MUST for lovers of the book.
Edward McGowan | Brooklyn, NY United States | 02/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ruiz's version of Proust's monumental work probably comes as close to a faithful interpretation of the spirit of the original work as a film can get. While the movie focuses on the last volume of the novel, key elements of the whole are interwoven throughout, to brilliant effect. Ruiz's surrealistic touches are at times so achingly beautiful that it takes your breath away. Ruiz made some interesting (and brave) choices regarding the plot: Swann and Albertine are jettisoned entirely, and believe it or not, it still works. The casting is uncannily on the money, with the one exception of John Malkovitch as Charlus, who appears not to have the foggiest conception of the character as written by Proust. If you haven't guessed already, this film will be tough going for those unfamiliar with the book. For Proustians: an unmitigated feast."
Proust, Captured on Film
Bruce Kendall | Southern Pines, NC | 07/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Suffice it to say that Chilean-born director/screenwriter Ruiz tackled a monumental assignment. Reducing Proust's lengthy Trilogy (Remembrance of Things Past), to a few hours of screen time would have been beyond the capabilities of most filmmakers. That he has succeeded so well is a great credit to him and to his creative crew. The film is told in a series of flashbacks as Proust lies on his deathbed. The flashbacks are not sequential, so at points one has to pay attention to follow along. The rewards are numerous, however. This is one of the most beautifully filmed works that I've seen in ages. The director is particularly adept at pan-shots. The moving tableaux are breathtaking, like living impressionist paintings. This is particularly true in a scene of a music recital at a country chateau. The various figures are situated on moving platforms, so in addition to the moving camera pans, the platforms also slide slowly back and forth, which makes for a kaleidescopic montage unlike anything I've seen in cinema. Ruiz and cinematographer Jorge Arriagada are artists in the truest sense. Ruiz also managed to collect a top notch cast for the enterprise. Marcello Mazzarella is elegantly stoic as Proust. He is the artistic, calm eye of the storm as the hurricane of WWI France swirls aound him. Emmanuelle Béart, is stunningly beautiful, as always. Catherine Deneuve is a perfectly cast Mme De Crecy, though her on screen time is relatively brief. John Malkovich's French sounds pretty fair to my untrained ear. He definitely has the juiciest role as a jaded, decadent Baron of the Boulevard. Pascal Greggory chews up some scenery, as well as a boefsteak, as the gung ho, effete warrior, St-Loup (well named, as the guy really is quite loopy). The movie is slow going at times, which well befits an adaptation of Proust, who's not exactly known for his frenetic pacing. This is a film to savor with several repeated viewings. The DVD is an excellent transfer and the English subtitles are accurate and legible. Highly recommended.BEK"
A Proustian Masterpiece
Robert Blumenfeld | New York, NY USA | 03/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautiful transfer to DVD of a superbly photographed, colorful film that recreates the French milieux of the early twentieth century beautifully, and plays with time in a very Proustian way. I agree with your reviewer that the cast, except for John Malkovich, who is completely miscast as the aristocratic Charlus, is excellent. However, there a major drawback to this DVD: The subtitles cannot be turned off, which, if you know French and want to watch the film without them, is a great pity. Also, it must be pointed out (again, as your reviewer did) that the film, gorgeous and atmospheric as it is, is wonderful if you know Proust's book, but could be rather confusing if you don't. Worth investigating nonetheless."
Excellent Adaptation of a Daunting Masterpiece
C. Gardner | Washington D.C., D.C. United States | 01/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adapting Marcel Proust for the screen must be one of the most dangerous things a writer/director can try to accomplish. How can you introduce one character or incident without having to introduce them all? That's the wonder of Proust's work: the meaning of one tiny incident is dependent upon the other incidents, what came before, and what Proust will show follows from it.
That said, this is a remarkable attempt at capturing the spirit and main idea of "Recapturing Lost Time." All the main characters are here but for Swann, who I suppose "appears" in spirit during the performance of Vinteuil's sonata which causes Marcel to break down in tears at the concluding party (this piece of music was the "intermediary" between Swann and Odette de Crecy (Deneuve); its "little phrase" helped him fall in love with her--and thus helped produced their daughter Gilberte (Beart), Marcel's first love when he was a teenager). Swann's love affair with Odette was a model for Marcel's conception of love--of which we get a taste with the one scene featuring Albertine, whom he tried to eventually imprison & smother in the same way as Swann did with Odette, but with tragic result.
Ruiz chose the right manner to portray Proust's idea--shifts in time, multiple realities co-existing in the same frame. It can be bewildering to those unfamiliar with the work, but the acting, set & costume design are all just great, and the piece of music chosen to represent Vinteuil's sonata exactly right (unlike the piece of proto-serialism used in "Swann in Love")."