Cinema: Time to Leave
Romain is a young successful fashion photographer who collapses during a shoot. After undergoing a series of tests, and at first believing he has AIDS, his doctor informs him that he has terminal cancer and has only perhaps a year to live. Refusing chemotherapy, seeing it as useless and painful, Romain tries to come to terms with his imminent death although he decides not to tell his parents, sister, or boyfriend. Instead he confides in his grandmother because as he observes to her, she will die soon as well. This gives an idea of the mood of the film: harsh, unsparing and unsentimental. The problem with this is that it is very hard to care about what happens to Romain. His character is barely sketched - we know there is some family history of infidelity but not much more is revealed and while we witness his decline, little is gleaned from the experience. Perhaps director Francois Ozon is indicating that to confer meaning is an attempt to avoid the reality of death, to skirt around its inevitablity. To say we can learn something from it is ridiculous - it is what it is. But then in the final scene, Romain appears at least to find peace as he lies on the beach and recalls summers as a boy, swimming in the sea and playing with other children, the adult world dispensed in all its superfluity, the sun shining in his eyes.