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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Emploi du temps, L' (Time Out) (2001)

Emploi du temps, L' (Time Out) (2001)

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Released 17-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Director In Conversation
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 128:11 (Case: 133)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (87:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Laurent Cantet

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Aurélien Recoing
Karin Viard
Serge Livrozet
Jean-Pierre Mangeot
Monique Mangeot
Nicolas Kalsch
Marie Cantet
Félix Cantet
Olivier Lejoubioux
Maxime Sassier
Elisabeth Joinet
Nigel Palmer
Christophe Charles
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Jocelyn Pook

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

      France in 1993 - all the talk is of Jean-Claude Romand - a respected and influential doctor with the World Health Organisation, who had just been dragged unconscious from his burning house. Inside were his parents, his wife and his two young children, all deceased. On further investigation by the police, Romand was charged with all of their murders. This sensational case became the subject of a book by Emmanuel Carrère called The Adversary, which starts with the chilling paragraph:

      "On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean-Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting at the school attended by Gabriel, our eldest son. He was five years old, the same age as Antoine Romand. Then we went to have lunch with my parents, as Jean-Claude Romand did with his, whom he killed after their meal."
Emmanuel Carrère The Adversary

      But what made this case even more astonishing was Romand's motive for obliterating his family. It transpired that he was, after all, not a doctor, had never worked for the WHO, and had, for 20 years, duped everyone close to him - fleecing them of their savings accounts in order to prop up his elaborate fantasy. As the money ran out, he enacted his terrible solution, and even now, holding court in a French prison, he appears to maintain only the briefest acquaintance with veracity.

      French director Laurent Cantet took on this theme of pathological mythomania with his 2001 film L'Emploi Du Temps, or Time Out. His liar is Vincent, (Aurélien Recoing) - a mild mannered middle executive. His life with wife Muriel (Karin Viard) and three children looks like the perfect idyll. But the reality is that Vincent was laid off from his job 3 months ago and now spends his day driving around in his car, making cryptic calls back to his wife about his "meetings" with mythical clients.

      As further pressure is exerted by his rather overbearing father, Vincent intimates that he is accepting a position with the United Nations in Switzerland. Fixing a loan to set up his flat in Switzerland, he actually does visit the hallowed halls of the UN but only long enough to hover longingly in the halls, and collect brochures that become the raw material of his increasingly complex fabrications about his new position.

      With money running low, he begins to contact old friends to invite them into an "investment opportunity" using foreign bank accounts. Sleeping in his car, living rough, but constantly feeling the need to display the trappings of success, he uses much of his friends' money to buy ostentatious trinkets of fortune.

      The filmic style of this piece is extremely taut - with the ever-present threat of exposure palpably close. It is clear that Muriel knows something's not right - but she constantly gives him the benefit of the doubt. It is a slow, ponderous and agonising piece of cinema - unsentimentally examining the anatomy of a lie that gets far too big for the perpetrator. His solipsistic behaviour and tragic immaturity is drawn out without over-censure by Cantet, who merely examines rather than judges.

      The film is a masterful examination of humanity caught in the headlights, and what fear does to a soul. It is long, tragic and exhausting viewing, but nonetheless very worthwhile. Rather than staying with the Romand case history, Cantet eschews the sensational for the more subtle devastation of a life caught out in a lie.

      Highly recommended viewing for an audience who appreciates thought-provoking cinema.

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Transfer Quality


     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture overall is a fraction soft, but the detail is generally quite good, albeit somewhat blocked in the shadows. There is little evidence of low level noise, and, although the contrast levels are generally a little flat, the luminance is quite acceptable.

     The colour range is somewhat muted, and in some instances almost monochrome, but this completely fits with the atmosphere of the piece. It would appear that there was a high reliance on natural and ambient lighting, rendering scenes like those in the hotel rather warm, but this creates an excellent atmospheric canvas for the drama.

     There were a few film to video artefacts, but never enough to distract from the narrative. There was minimal aliasing, and grain levels were visible but not overpowering. There were no MPEG artefacts marring the transfer.

     Subtitles were clean, clear and easy to read.

     This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 13 and 14, at 87:30. It is a little clumsy but is mercifully swift.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also a French Dolby Digital 2.0 track. I listened to both soundtracks, with most time spent on the 5.1 track.

     The dialogue was deep, clean and resonant with no distortions. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

      The musical score by Jocelyn Pook was nothing short of exquisitely haunting. A long, low violin refrain populates the film with aching emptiness and dismal fear.

     The surround channels were appropriately used throughout. The surround presence provided ambient atmosphere without ever making the viewer overly aware of its existence. There was little or no subwoofer activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     The menu is static with theme music playing in the background.

The Director in Conversation

     An unusual interview with Laurent Cantet where the screen is split to reveal the director and interviewer, and vision from both L'Emploi Du Temps and another of his films, Les Sanguinaires. He compares the thematic elements of the 2 films. Interesting.

Theatrical Trailer

     (1:21) A clever little trailer that manipulates the vision through editing into an explanatory piece without spoiling the film at all.

Photo Gallery

     11 photographs from the film.


     Page text biographies of Laurent Cantet, Karin Viard and Aurélien Recoing.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

     Well, well, well - it appears we have more extras for once. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!


     Ponderous, slow and agonisingly real - this is a study of personal agony and tragedy. It is a testament to the director's and the casts' superlative expertise that this film where hardly anything really happens builds into such a story of suspense.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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