by Kaleem Hasan
Early on in the film a page is opened and the overture to Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is seen. Kaufmann’s own work is a messy, knotty, bracing reworking of Proustian space. There are no magical madeleines here with coherently conjured up visions. There is only memory that is at once schizoid and anarchic. And it is ultimately a film about ‘impossibility’. The impossibility of love, of art, of aging, even of death. Then there is the saddest truth of this film — the impossibility of loneliness.
In Proust the self is constructed every single day to re-configure the always lost paradise. There are circles here, returns and beginnings anew. The self is the daily compromise memory allows. But the search is rather charming, always a little romantic, even perhaps a little fabular. The ‘play’ of/in the world never quite defeats the quester even if there is finally a quasi-spiritual sense of repose. Proust is a bit like Cervantes but Don Quixote ends somewhere; In Search of Lost Time always loops in on its finales.
In Kaufmann’s work however the time of life is only purgatorial, suspended between prologue and epilogue, always too late for the first and always too early for the second. It is perhaps simply a film about ghosts and their impossible presence. The only life here is one where shards of memory stand in for the ever elusive ‘whole’ of life. A work of art in effect always constructed in the mind like a stage set with movable props and changable characters. Life will have been a hallucination…
It is not a young person’s film. It’s lessons are too costly. But then youth, just like age, is not granted to everyone.