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26 September, 2007

Winding Up

By Amit Varma


Title: Time to Leave

By: François Ozon

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A couple of evenings ago, my cousin Debika and I were discussing how we’d react if we were told we had just a few months to live. She said she would try and do everything she liked in that time, and surround herself with her family. I said that I’d be inclined to save people I cared for the pain of watching me die—whatever that took. Ironically and unexpectedly, shortly after this conversation, we found ourselves watching François Ozon’s remarkable film Time to Leave.

The film begins with its protagonist, Romain, discovering that he is terminally ill with cancer, and deciding not to bother with treatment. He does not tell his friends or family of his condition. He is rude to his sister, and drives her to tears. He tells his lover, Sasha, that he does not love him, and drives him to move out of their house. This is a transparent lie, but though we see it, Sasha doesn’t. He confides to his grandmother—marvellously played by Jeanne Moreau—because she is like him, and “will die soon.” But even in this winding up, complications ensue.

Melvil Poupaud plays Romain, and is magnificent – understated, yet effortlessly expressive. But it is Ozon’s storytelling that makes this film memorable. It is spare, focussing only on the essential, and revealing its essence. There is not a frame out of place in this heartbreaking film that ends, like Romain, too soon and in great beauty.

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Nice to see you writing in this section again. I like your RaveOuts.

Posted by Anirudh on Sun, September 30, 2007 at 12:15:13

Never heard of the movie or Ozon. Will have to check it out….though for some reason, I have stayed away from depressing/poignant movies this year. Eastwood’s two good war movies beckon…

Posted by Sanjeev on Tue, October 02, 2007 at 5:17:41

Sounds Good!  Will check it out.

If you can, try to get hold of this another very interesting French movie called ‘Intimate Strangers’.  You will enjoy it.

Plot summary (No spoilers) - Because she picked the wrong door, Anna ends up confessing her marriage problems to a financial adviser named William Faber. Touched by her distress, somewhat excited as well, Faber does not have the courage to tell her that he is not a psychiatrist. From appointment to appointment, a strange ritual is created between them. William is moved by the young woman and fascinated to hear the secrets that no man ever heard.

Posted by Rajpal on Wed, October 10, 2007 at 12:36:22

Dear Amit,

Also read the book “Chasing Daylight” by the former chairman of KPMG. He was diagnosed with cancer and had just a few months to live. the book is his diary of his last days. I found it a wonderful book, primarily for his lack of self-pity.


Posted by Venkatesh Hariharan on Thu, October 25, 2007 at 7:34:06

I saw this film sometime last year, and I thought that while nicely done, one subplot was jarring and out of place and filmi - the siring of the kid.

That said, it was a good film that ended on the right bittersweet note.

Posted by bobo on Thu, May 08, 2008 at 3:39:42

Wind it up!

Posted by Aakarshan on Fri, May 30, 2008 at 2:10:39

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