At the very least, María Alvarez’s “Le Temps Perdu” may give hope to those who intended to end or begin Proust. Filmed almost entirely in a Buenos Aires cafe, the cozy black-and-white documentary sits with a group of seniors gathered to savor the Spanish translation of “In Search of Lost Time.” They have read the novel several times and have met for nearly 20 years.
The men and women seated around the table read aloud from what appeared to be laminated printouts from their beloved multi-volume book. They ponder specific passages and share echoes of their daily lives. A lasting memory of her late husband’s smile, or a visit to the hospital where Madeleine was on the menu. One man goes on to explain that his daughter is named Albertine, just like the protagonist of the book, who is the narrator’s romantic obsession.
The film, perhaps like one writer, seeks out the connection between the mundane and the transcendent in the group’s activities, and the book concludes with a poetic montage and liberal use of Debussy’s “Shrinks.” There is poignancy and entertainment in how time and love experiences occur in the novel and in the life of the reader. are available.)
Even if the film doesn’t quite live up to its premise’s promise, you can’t ask for a richer reading. In a similar documentary from 2013, “Joyce Society” Tackle Finnegans Wake in less than an hour.
Le Temps Perdu
Unrated. Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 42 minutes. at the theater.