Time to Leave

Runs at Varsity, Fri., Nov. 3–Thurs., Nov. 9. Not rated. 81 minutes.

  Well, they got the title right—hurry up and die already. François Ozon did a better job combining Eros and Thanatos in Under the Sand and had more fun with Sirkian melodrama in 8 Women. This odd new exercise in grief and arousal follows an unreasonably handsome fashion photographer (Melvil Poupaud) through his final months of existence after being diagnosed with incurable cancer. (Cancer, not AIDS, though the similar, superior 1992 Savage Nights does come to mind.) The gay Parisian lensman insults his sister, practically rapes his lover, seems to despise his parents, and only opens up to his wise, country-dwelling grandmother (Jeanne Moreau, making about as much sense as a witch in a fairy tale). In other words, he's a shallow, self-obsessed bastard, and Ozon seeks to convince us that he finally gains depth—that precious respect for life and the living!—just as his tremulous flame is about to be snuffed by dark eternity's cruel hand. It's an obvious, fatuous theme for a filmmaker who's increasingly been using genre tweaks and storytelling tricks (see 5 x 2, where an unhappy love story resolves in reverse at its promising start) to pad his scripts. By the time Poupaud's child-hater runs into a waitress played by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi (the film's one agreeable character), you're thinking, Start the funeral without moi. BRIAN MILLER

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