The time we share.” Isabelle Hubert and the power of imagination

How do you deal with your loss or failure? What if the pain becomes overwhelming and threatens to wipe out everything? In his melodramatic film The Time We Share, French director Laurent Larivière describes treating memory as a kind of creative process for survival.

Reality loses its relevance and can hardly be defined as such. The internal scenario decides the truth. A surprising, semi-comic stream of consciousness, aesthetically imaginative, paying homage to the playful lightness of Nouvelle Vague.

“My name is Joanne, Joan Vera.” During her rainy car ride at night, Joan Vera (Isabelle Huppert) breaks through the fourth wall right at the beginning of the movie, speaking to us directly. So director Laurent Larvier and his writing partner François Decoudes warn their viewers of what appears to be a purely personal perspective, yet allow ourselves to be misled, even if we ultimately claim that we, of course, guessed it from the start. but what? Hero, a successful publisher who is now retired, unexpectedly meets her first love in Paris. She flees the city in search of the seclusion of her country house. The last forty years are reviewed. Joanne remembers that she used to live in Dublin, her father’s home. There she fell in love (played beautifully by Frey Mavor) with charming pickpocket Doug (Eanna Hardwicke), a bad boy with the charisma of an angel (according to Larvier). Together they enjoy their raids like amorous adventures. They are high-spirited, brutal, and infinitely happy with the vanity of youth in the style of “Out of Breath” (1960) by Jean-Luc Godard, the essential difference being that they are surrounded by an abundance of shimmering colour.

Gallery – please click on the image

The dream of a little chaos ends in prison. Both are caught by the police in action, our hero is soon released, and Doug is still behind bars and disappears from her life. He will never know about his son, Nathan. “The best thing that ever happened to me,” Joan says of him, but young and a little tired, even if the parents willingly helped, her mother would leave the family from day to day to follow up with her Escape Tokyo karate school. This leaves traces. But Joanne continues on her path unchecked, evolving into a confident, albeit unapproachable, woman. Her emotional journey back to that summer day when a severe blow of fate changed her life forever. Well, decades later, her son (Swann Arlaud) surprised her with a visit, and the two didn’t see each other for a long time because their relationship had never been easy.

The perpetual reference person in Joan’s life is Tim Arden (Lars Edinger), the terrible brat of the literary scene and, if he wants, he’s really annoying. The eccentric German writer seems to be falling in love with his older publisher. She is far away and yet Joan takes care of her stepdaughter far more than her job requires. She feels connected to the open-minded and unpredictable artist. He was speaking to something inside of her that she had suppressed for a long time. But it is not the relationships themselves that make melodrama irresistible, it is the lightness, the unpredictability, how thoughts and memories appear and disappear, places and events intersect, take their place, slip before us. Longing, fear of grief, inexperience of youthful abundance, anger, lack of understanding. “The Time We Share” has a rhythm of its own, a strange sadness peppered with humor and tragedy. The personal dialogues are a bit polite, but that’s exactly why we sit and pay attention, questioning the usual repertoire of sentimental theses and flashbacks that make it possible to leave a certain event in Joan’s life in the dark. Larivière forces us to question what makes a life story.

Time periods have their individual shades of color and the lighting also varies however the narration fluently slips from one era to the next. Places and feelings are associated with colours. Ireland, brown, orange, gray, the weather in Germany is cooler, the air is permeated with a bluish hue. And in the family home it will be brighter with shades of yellow and green. Pictures of the past are more grainy in texture. “Memory is recovery,” says Lariviere. “The image is not meant to be realistic. I wanted this lack to pour into our aesthetic choices. Away from the narrative character of a situation, which can be funny or dramatic, what interests me is what happens between objects, what happens between the lines. I make films to direct What is invisible.”

When she meets Doug (Stanley Townsend) again, Joan does not say a word about their son. Slow-moving, a bit weary, poor, Doug has lost much of his charm. Through a phone call, Joan discovers the death of her mother, who has already returned to France without To be noticed 15 years ago She lived in the most humble of circumstances without informing her family Joan is upset Accompanied by Tim and her son, she visits her mother’s grave in the “Garden of Memory”, holding a glass of wine in her hand saying goodbye.

Above all, Laurent LaRiver wanted to paint a picture of Joan’s relationship “not only with her son but with the world, with her sense of freedom, imagination, humor and authority. An image supported by the desire to believe the stories the films tell us when Joan addresses the audience through the fourth wall at the beginning of the film, I promised Taking us on a journey through her memories, some of them fabricated, I appreciate that agreement between the audience and the film, and we know that it’s an illusion, that it’s cinema, but we want to believe in it. And that’s the passion. It’s a form of engagement and togetherness that moves me deeply.”

“The Time We Share” is a movie about the power of imagination: “Everyone tells stories to themselves. All the time.” The director says, “We continue to reinvent and redefine our lives to understand and contextualize it so that it is less absurd and less painful. Imagination helps us to live, an illusion that necessarily belongs to our human condition. When Nathan appeared on the street, many years later, thus alleviating Joan’s pain We understand why she accepted this betrayal, which allowed her to continue living despite this intractable ordeal. This delusion – or conscious denial – makes their lives worth living again. It reminds me of Paul Valéry’s quote: Every moment touches the imagination at any time. We know it Well – the reality is completely subjective. It is critical for the audience to react to Joanne’s story so that the betrayal matches their feelings. The important thing is not that she lied to herself, but that we are able to understand what the pain was and why she had to lie to herself. This revelation was not surprising , but a deep understanding of what you’re going through. After all, everyone is doing their best.

Spoiler alert
Larivière deliberately gives the viewer the opportunity to think retrospectively: ‘Of course I knew that, he’s been there from the start. But as the story unfolds,’ says the director, ‘Who could imagine Joan inventing a son so far from her ideal and with whom she fights so hard, on the Although he has just been born in Montreal. Convincing herself that he lives on the other side of the ocean also allows Joan to live through the painful meltdown she has endured in her own way.”

The protagonist (as well as Isabelle Hubert) has never been more convincing than her aggressiveness towards the fictional son. As if she yearns for misunderstanding, as if a bad son who disappoints her can make enduring the unbearable. Perhaps almost as irrational and irritating as compulsive physical arguments, these irrational and sensationalist arguments provide temporary relief. But it is actually a healing process that we follow here. What can our phantom memories look like?

Our environment usually only suspects the truth. Tim suspects Joan’s relationship with Nathan. As much as the artist appears narcissistic in his exuberance, his thirst for provocation, he is patient in a strangely loving way. The alcoholic writer’s character is inspired by Charles Bukowski and Richard Protigan. “You saved my life, Tim Arden,” says Joanne. Your emotional journey is coming to an end. She is looking for a buyer for her country house. Leaning on the lawn mower, Tim waits for her. Joan reveals her love for the first time.


Original title: À Suggest Di Guan

Directed by Laurent Lariver

Screenplay: Laurent Larvier and Francois Decodtes
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Lars Edinger, Swann Arlaud, Freya Mavor
Production country: Germany, Ireland, France, 2022
Duration: 97 minutes
August 31, 2022
Film Distribution: Camino Film Distribution

Photos, Press Materials and Trailer: Camino Films Copyright Distribution

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