(Les Temps qui changent)
Is it possible that it has been close to 25 years since two titans of French cinema,
Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, have played opposite one another
on screen? Well, writer-director André Téchiné has rectified that situation by casting
the pair as former sweethearts in the drama LES TEMPS QUI CHANGENT
or CHANGING TIMES.
Depardieu portrays Antoine Lavau, an executive who has buried himself in his
work and who is literally buried by a mudslide as the film opens. Antoine has spent his
life searching for the one great love -- the one who got away, Cécile (Deneuve).
When he finally learns that she is living in Tangiers, he ostensibly is there to oversee
a building project, but in reality, he harbors hopes of rekindling that lost love.
What Antoine cannot know is that Cécile has moved on. A radio host, she is
married to a younger man, a doctor (Gilbert Melki) and has raised a son Sami (Mark
Zidi) who coincidentally has arrived for a visit around the same time as Antoine. Sami,
who has brought with him his Morrocan girlfriend Nadia (Lubna Azabal) and her son,
also is there to seek out a former lover -- Bilal (Nadem Rachati).
The screenplay by Téchiné, Laurent Guyot and Pascal Bonitzer schematically has
each of the major characters straddling two worlds, whether it is cultural, physical or
emotional. The filmmakers have opted not to neatly wrap everything up in a Hollywood-
style ending, leaving the viewer to consider what may have happened to some of the
While there are some flaws (an ill-advised suggestion that Antoine would stoop
to magic to win his beloved, for instance), CHANGING TIMES serves a terrific vehicle
for another pairing of Deneuve and Depardieu. The supporting cast is also very good,