Time Out

Director: Laurent Cantet
Screenwriters: Robin Campillo, Laurent Cantet

Institute History

  • 2002 Sundance Film Festival


Vincent, a quite ordinary middle manager in a quite ordinary French consulting firm, has been fired. As in the famous tabloid story on which the film is based, he conceals the truth from his family. Weekdays he is "away on business," living in his car actually, but available on his cell phone to recount cheerily to his wife the tough business negotiations and bigger and bigger deals he is making. He talks of quitting his nonexistent job for a far better nonexistent post with the United Nations in Switzerland. Soon he relates his exploits in fostering third-world projects. But the money isn't coming in, and the game is almost up. Vincent turns first to selling bogus Russian securities to his college classmates, then to smuggling watches from Switzerland.
This dark, demanding, and elegantly filmed portrayal of virtuosic duplicity is director Laurent Canten's second feature film and his second study, after Human Resources (2001 Sundance Film Festival), of the trauma of unemployment. Poignant in its development of Vincent (Aurelien Recoing), it shows us a man who always sought but never achieved his father's admiration who tries to buy his eldest son's affection, and who seeks his wife's love and respect with grandiose tales of his professional success. Paradoxically, it is his utter wimpishness that propels Vincent to daring feats of deceit. For a time, a brief time out, he escapes the constraints of a reality for which he is not fit; he is master of his fate.

— Nicole Guillemet

Screening Details

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