Nina Companéez – À la recherche du temps perdu (2011)

In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past is a novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. His most prominent work, it is known both for its length and its theme of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the episode of the madeleine. Running to nearly 1.5 million words, it is one of the longest novels in world literature. The novel began to take shape in 1909. Proust continued to work on it until his final illness in the autumn of 1922 forced him to break off. Proust established the structure early on, but even after volumes were initially finished he kept adding new material, and edited one volume after another for publication. The last three of the seven volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages as they existed in draft form at the death of the author; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother Robert. The work was published in France between 1913 and 1927. The novel had great influence on twentieth-century literature; some writers have sought to emulate it, others to parody it.

Trying to film Marcel Proust’s `A la recherche du temps perdu’ has tied many a great director in knots. What is it about this masterpiece that resists adaptation? In theory, anybody can now make a movie of A la recherche du temps perdu. (The rights to the book fell into the public domain more than a decade ago) Most other major 20th- century novels have been cannibalised by the movies. We’ve had versions of Ulysses, Death in Venice and any number of Henry James adaptations, but for some reason, Proust has scared away filmmakers. His novel is still routinely dismissed as “unfilmable”, a strange verdict given how cinematic Proust’s language often seems. With its madeleine cakes and chiming bells, the book provides endless opportunities for Rosebud-style flashbacks. It also has plenty to titillate. There is voyeurism, lesbianism, homosexuality, family plotting, political intrigue and scandal, and all the glamour of the Faubourg St-Germain. When it comes to investigating high society and exposing its blatant snobbery, Proust is both satirist and detective. If not a movie, Proust’s 3,000- page opus ought at least to provide plenty of grist for the mini-series.

3.52GB | 3 h 51 min | 720×400 | avi


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