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Mar del Plata Film Festival’s 2020 Best Argentinean Film winner follows a book group of Proust superfans who have elevated the art of collective reading and sharing to delightful new heights.

For nearly 20 years, a group of senior citizens have been regularly catching up in a cosy Buenos Aires café to read Marcel Proust’s epic masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. Despite knowing the passages by heart, the book group’s members continue to find new meaning and relevance in Proust’s famed ruminations on memory and time – especially as they themselves age – and suggestions to branch out to other literature are hastily rebuffed. Proust’s characters have become like friends; with the passing years, his experiences and memories have merged with those of his readers.

Filmed between 2015 and 2019, María Álvarez’s quietly observational black-and-white documentary puts its audience in the café seats to join in the book group’s conversations, laughter and camaraderie. During those four years, they make one full pass through the seven volumes, and Álvarez was there with her camera to intimately capture all the joy, debate and reaction, both emotional and intellectual. The second of a trilogy on art and ageing, Le temps perdu is a captivating, affectionate record of a rapidly vanishing world: one of slow consumption and deep thought, of personal reflection and calm contemplation.

“Echoes of eternity elegantly pervade Le temps perdu … A charming [film] about engaging folk in the twilight of their lives.” – Screen Daily