The Sweet Cheat [THE PAST REGAINED]
From the Chicago Reader (July 21, 2000). My thanks to my editor on this piece, Kitry Krause, for (among many other things) coming up with my title. — J.R.
Time Regained ***
Directed by Raul Ruiz
Written by Gilles Taurand and Ruiz
With Marcello Mazzarella, Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Béart, Vincent Perez, John Malkovich, Pascal Greggory, Marie-France Pisier, Christian Vadim, Arielle Dombasle, Chiara Mastroianni, and the voice of Patrice Chéreau.
[A few years ago], I refused to direct Remembrance of Things Past. I wrote to the woman producer [Nicole Stéphane] that no real filmmaker would allow himself to squeeze the madeleine as though it were a lemon and in my opinion only a film butcher would have the nerve to put Proust through the mincer.
A few weeks later she obtained the agreement of the Verdurin salon, that is to say, René Clement. Come to think of it, is Proust burning in [the book-burning fires of my film] Fahrenheit 451? No, but this omission will soon be corrected.
— François Truffaut, “The Journal of Fahrenheit 451” (1966)
I read Remembrance of Things Past all the way through more than 35 years ago, shortly before Truffaut registered his scorn about the very notion of a film version (Stéphane eventually got the film made in 1984, Volker Schlšndorff’s dispensable Swann in Love). Read more