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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Not So Great DVD
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...
Published on April 4, 2001

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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A la recherche a decent Proust film adaptation
I desperately wanted and expected (because of the mostly positive reviews) to like Ruiz's take on the last installment of Proust's In Search of Lost Time, but after having viewed it--not once but twice--the best thing I can say about it is that it means well. Of course, I understand the difficulty of adapting such an involved, disjointed, and lengthy work, but Time...
Published on April 21, 2001 by guthrie272


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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Not So Great DVD, April 4, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
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.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a MUST for lovers of the book., February 16, 2001
By 
Edward McGowan (Brooklyn, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
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.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Proustian Masterpiece, March 30, 2001
By 
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
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.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proust, Captured on Film, July 30, 2003
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
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
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Adaptation of a Daunting Masterpiece, January 16, 2003
By 
C. Gardner (Washington D.C., D.C. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
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").
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful, March 9, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
Well, I had only ever heard of Proust before this film from a Monty Python sketch of the "Summarise Proust competition" (contestants had to summarise In Search of Lost Time once in evening wear and once in bathing suit). I was worried I might hate this film, not knowing anything about Proust other than he wrote a multi-volumed masterwork about time and memory. Then I saw it...wow! I cannot praise Mr Ruiz enough for what he has achieved. The camera work, sets, and lighting are stunning. As Marcel's memory takes him back and forth through his life, the sets and furniture often move around whilst the scene is played out - all emphasising the fragility and hallucinatory qualities of his memory. And there is the music...wow again. It is never intrusive but always creates the perfect background to what is happening on screen. It is not overly sentimental and never tries to force you into feeling emotion (unlike someone like John Williams/S. Spielberg who tries to ram it down your throat). As for plot, many characters and relationships are never fully explained or revealed. Many reviewers seem offended that a film expects them to display attention and interest, but I feel that they're missing the point. Plot is often not the point of the film, instead it is a film about time and memory (hence the title!). Plot is not allowed to dominate the narrative structure, it is the emotions and memory of Marcel. The most offensive thing that some other reviewers seem to find about this film is that it is novel and original - what a crime!! I had never read Proust (and I do not speak French to any degree - I feel I should mention this for the reviewer below who complains that those who can't speak French will have problems) before I saw this film, but I have a long enough attention span and an open enough mind to appreciate the sheer beauty of its images and the wonderful originality of its style. I urge anyone remotely appreciative of excellent filmmaking to see this film. It might even, as it has with me, motivate you to read the book. I am now three and a third volumes in and it is the greatest and most beautifully written novel I have ever read in my life. Thank you Mr Ruiz and thank you Marcel! SEE THIS FILM NOW!!!
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Interpretation Of The Classic On Film, April 5, 2003
By 
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
Director Raul's version of Marcel Prousts' Remembrance Of Things Past is captured beautifully and faithfully on film. It was made only recently in 1999, but it is essentially timeless. The strength of the film lies in the many dimensions it has, as with the novel. Proust's vision and world comes to life through the cinema, through good performances by the actors, period details and such beautiful, wistful music. The music and the way the film changes time frames, different perspectives, and the Impressionist, sensory images in memory that Proust created in the book are captured with great effect.
For those who have read the long book, and for those who are Proustian, this film is a sumptuous cinematic feast. You don't have to appreciate French literature and film interpretation, you can just love costume dramas. The French are a different breed. They love their champagne, their waltzes and always, Paris. The frivolous lifestyle depicted in Odette's courtesan climate is but one element of French society, at least as it was in the late 19th century. Swann, as we know, is the author himself. Proust put himself in Swann, and became the restless, troubled youth searching for himself but unable to find peace of mind in a corrupt world of money and societal conventions, a world who looks innocent and glossy but hides a dark secret of prostitution and frail morals.
The cast is superb. The music is delightful. What a great idea they had to cast a now older Catherine Deneuve as the courtesan whom Swann loves devotedly, Odette. This DVD is a great experienc e and I recommend this film to fans of French classics. One note: the film takes place in the latter portions of Proust's epic novel, and some of the characters and side stories were cut off due to time. Like Gone With The Wind for America, Remembrance Of Things Past is an epic masterpiece of French literature. Only there they call it "Au Recharche du Temps perdu" which literally means, in Proustian symbolism, "In Search Of Lost Time".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!!!, September 27, 2002
By 
T. Kelley (houston, texas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
I watched this movie and I, honestly, understood it. There were moments, as has been noted in other reviews, when the dialogue was "impossible" to to see, but it did not affect my understanding in separating all the characters or shifts in time and place which took place. I have not read any of Proust books and currently I am reading a biography of him purchased here on Amazon. I rented the movie first. I just like what I saw and decided the price of the DVD is worth it for a movie I found interesting and pleasurable.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A la recherche a decent Proust film adaptation, April 21, 2001
By 
"guthrie272" (South Bend, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
I desperately wanted and expected (because of the mostly positive reviews) to like Ruiz's take on the last installment of Proust's In Search of Lost Time, but after having viewed it--not once but twice--the best thing I can say about it is that it means well. Of course, I understand the difficulty of adapting such an involved, disjointed, and lengthy work, but Time Regained seems to miss the mark (dramatically) in a number of respects.
First and foremost, the film is simply unattractive. The film quality--in both the theatre prints and the DVD version--is grainy and drab, in a BBC-literary-adaptation kind of way. The colors appear washed out, and the art direction seems half-hearted. In short, I did not at all "get a feeling" of fin de siecle Paris--its elegance or its beauty. Some of the shots leave a distinct Made-for-Television taste in one's mouth.
Secondly, I have read the entire work, and yet at times I had some difficulty following the film (because of the collage-like style, the incorporation of scenes from various volumes, and an uncertainty as to which actors were playing whom). Meanwhile, Catherine Deneuve seems somewhat miscast as Odette de Forcheville nee Swann nee de Crecy--she is among the most elegant, refined, and put-together actresses in the film, and yet she is supposed to be playing the vulgar social-climbing outcast. The role of the narrator and of Gilberte (Emmanuel Beart) are well-cast, but the greatest of all miscalculations seems to be the casting of John Malkovich as the lecherous Baron de Charlus. He lacks the presence (both physical and social) that we would expect of this classic Proustian character.
The third and most damaging fault of the film is that it feels surprisingly soulless and cold. As we are bombarded with character after character, we are not given the opportunity of "knowing" or of even wanting to know any of them. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the novel was its long examinations of people, feelings, and sensations. This is inevitably lost in a film version and begs the question of whether Proust is suited to film at all. I can't think of a novel that better supports the argument that not all greats works of literature require film adaptations. Proust supplies us with more images and depth than a two-hour sitting in a movie theatre ever could.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read Proust first!, July 8, 2005
By 
Daniel Ford (at danford dot net) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Time Regained (DVD)
This is a wonderful film, a tribute by the Chilean-born direct Raoul Ruiz, in French with subtitles that occasionally are hard to read against the gold-white light of Marcel's retrospections. The most astonishing performance is John Malkovich's as Charlus, despite the fact that he doesn't resemble him in the slightest (Proust described the baron as so fat that he waddled, and his head as enormous).

The film is based on the novel's final book, which we now know as Finding Time Again, and begins with Marcel on his deathbed, dictating in a ghostly voice the novel that will be his triumph over death. The dying writer never reappears; what we get instead are scenes from the story of his life, including Little Marcel with his magic lantern at Combray, Young Marcel meeting Charlus at Balbec, and Middle-Aged Marcel attending the final society concert chez Prince de Guermantes, It's very difficult to follow, and should by no means be regarded as hors d'oeuvres to the feast of In Search of Lost Time, but rather as a digestif to follow it. -- Dan Ford at readingproust dot com
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Time Regained
Time Regained by Raoul Ruiz (DVD - 2001)
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