Monday, June 3, 2013
timeless, jobless, loveless: TIME OUT (L'EMPLOI DU TEMPS)
I'm thinking of Laurent Cantet's TIME OUT, (2001) and how it stole unexpected tears from me when i went to see it one uncrowded early morning at Angelika Film Center (if memory serves me right.) The film was about a man who escapes from his life of responsibility, all the while keeping up the fraudulent sense that he is a normal person who has somewhere to work and someplace to go.
The time that he spends away from his responsibilites (work) soon broadens to the world of love and family, where he becomes less and less present, living in a free space and time that are seemingly safe from the consequences of the real world.
The joy exhibited early in his time away soon becomes sadder as his world closes in around him.
The loneliness and lies, like the false world of a using addict in denial, are what impacted me like a mac truck.
Cantet's film progresses , as does the disease of addiction, and the isolation of this world he 's remained in too long becomes more difficult to leave.
I'm reading a passage written by James McGahern, in an introduction to John Williams novel STONER (1965.) The following passage pushed me erect in my seat, startled, as I reflected back to TIME OUT, a film that had been percolating in my mind in recent weeks.
"STONER is also a novel about work, the hard unyielding work of the farms; the work of living within a destructive marriage and bringing up a daughter with patient mutability in a poisoned household; the work of teaching literature to mostly unresponsive students. How Williams manages to dramatize this almost impossible material is itself a small miracle. In a rare interview given late in life, John Williams says of Stoner:
'I think he's a real hero...He was a witness to values that are important...The important thing in the novel to me is Stoner's sense of a job. Teaching to him is a job -- a job in hte good and honorable sense of the word. His job gave him a particular kind of identity and also made him what he was...It's the love of something, the thing that's essential."
Reading this made me realize, more than ever, how connected the escape of responsibility in adulthood/work and the escape of responsibility in love are intertwined in Cantet's film.
Love is the only thing, in the end, that can slap Cantet's protag in the face, waking him up to his illness of isolation and falsehood.
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