TIME TO LEAVE (TEMPS QUI RESTE, LE)
Director: François Ozon
Stars: Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Christian Sengewald
Romain (Melvil Poupard) is a thirtysomething fashion photographer who receives a terminal cancer diagnosis out of the blue. Given a month or two to live, Romain embarks on a stilted journey to say goodbye to people he’s never really said a proper hello to: his boyfriend and his family.
This relatively brief feature plays very much like an extended version of La Petite Mort (The Little Death), Ozon’s short film from 1995, about a dejected gay Parisian photographer Paul, who connects with other men by taking photos of them at the point of orgasm, and who travels out of town to visit his dying father and a long-suffering estranged sister.
Elegant and succinct, Time to Leave covers quite a bit of ground in 81 minutes. Numerous subplots are economically realised, including a lengthy branch off that involves a sultry waitress in search of a sperm donor.
Time to Leave even finds time for an extended stay at Chateau Jeanne Moreau, an imperious space where taut jowls and cognac-stained lips are the order of the day. Moreau is Left-Bank perfection as Romain’s empathetic grandmother who smoulders in noble exile at her rural estate where she keeps safe distance from her bourgeois family. She swaps stories about legions of lovers and lost opportunities with her beloved grandson, with whom she bonds anew on the revelation that like her, he too is close to death. The magnificent Moreau seems to have aged little since she sung “Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves” and told Brad Davis he had a huge cock in 1982’s Querelle - long may she stay with us (check out her imdb.com filmography: 127 titles and counting!)