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FILMS / REVIEWS Belgium / France

Review: Time Out


- Eve Duchemin takes an intense yet subtle approach to depict the impossibility of three prisoners allowing themselves to enjoy life while on leave

Review: Time Out
Karim Leklou in Time Out

The film begins with noise, commotion, cries of distress. Lives stifled, much like the cries of the inmates, contained behind armoured doors in the closed prison world, as if trapped in a never-ending slumber until they resurface, on the outside. And outside is where Hamosin, Anthony and Colin are going this weekend, where their families, torn apart by contradictory emotions, are waiting or not waiting for them, on the occasion of their being granted 48-hour leave. But what can these three men who, for a lot of people, are nothing more than their inmate numbers, possibly allow themselves to do? The great strength of Time Out [+see also:
interview: Eve Duchemin
film profile
, Eve Duchemin’s debut fiction feature which was unveiled at the Ramdam Festival in Tournai, of its writing and its direction, is how it draws the men out of their prisoner shells: their distress, their wounds, their frustrations. Their battle to get back to who they were in their previous lives before they were sent to face up to their crimes.

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Hamosin (played with incredible depth by Issaka Sawadogo) is coming to the end of a long sentence. He has one weekend in which to sign a work contract, a key requirement for his release. And one weekend to potentially reforge the family ties he severed on entering prison.

Anthony (the ever-intense Karim Leklou) still has a few more years to serve, stupefied by sedatives which extinguish the fire of his destructive impulses. Welcomed home by his big family, he’s faced with the life which escapes him, which is continuing without him. He tries to make the most of his leave, in spite of it all, even if the countdown to his return to prison has already begun.

Last but not least, Colin (played by newcomer Jarod Cousyns in his first role) left the larger part of his carefree adolescence behind him when he went to prison. He reconnects with friends who don’t necessarily wish him well, while his mother and sister welcome him, albeit hesitantly.

Despite the prison only appearing in the first few minutes of the film, it is omnipresent in the minds of the inmates, who are lost from the moment they’re no longer imprisoned, neither in body nor in mind, when they near breaking point and the dam comes close to bursting. The film shows how prison frustrates bodies and creates an emptiness, and how it also impacts families who must navigate between love and awkwardness, resentment, shame and kindness, and who often provide unstinting support, in spite of it all. Burdened by the weight of their crime and by the debt they’ve incurred vis-à-vis their loved ones and society, and dehumanised by a penal institution which leaves an indelible mark, these prisoners must learn how to re-establish dialogue, both socially and with their families, in order for them to envisage some sort of redemption.

Time Out is produced by Kwassa Films (Belgium) - who previously backed the director’s medium-length documentary En bataille, portrait d’une directrice de prison, which scooped the Magritte for Best Documentary - in co-production with Les Films de l'autre cougar (France). International sales are steered by Pyramide International, who will also be distributing the film in France. The movie is set for release in Belgium on 19 April, courtesy of O’Brother Distribution.

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(Translated from French)

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