9 March 2003 | Quibble
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 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!!!