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“Time to Leave.”

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"It's good to tell the truth, isn't it?"
Romain, the center of François Ozon‘s "Time to Leave," is given the best gift a fictional character could wish for: the opportunity to die, elegantly, in CinemaScope. We’re scarcely into the film when we learn alongside him that he’s got a terminal brain tumor. He refuses chemotherapy, seeing it as futile, and instead heads off to take a wrecking ball to his life — lashing out at his sister, breaking up with his boyfriend, quitting his job as a rising fashion photographer — before finally coming to terms with himself. The film is a kind of backward portrait, in which at first we’re left to deduce who Romain is, or was, by the damage he does, by the people who are left bewildered by his inexplicable behavior. The only one he confides in is his grandmother, played by Jeanne Moreau (pushing 80 and still a redoubtable presence), because, as he tells her with cruel honesty, "You’re like me. You’ll be dying soon."

"Time to Leave" is also the most arty of guilty pleasures, a decadent and moving melodrama in which someone folds up the loose ends of his life like a blanket to be tucked away — the feel-good death film of the summer. Played by Melvil Poupaud, Romain is an unearthly beauty for whom dying only seems to highlight his bone structure and bring out an inner luminescence. Ozon’s has never been one for gritty realism, and he claims Douglas Sirk as his inspiration for "Time to Leave," which may explain some of the film’s overtly cinematic loveliness. At times it’s in line with what’s happening on screen — as if life becomes sharper and brighter once you learn you’ll soon part ways with it — and other times it’s a distancing distraction, as are watery-eyed scenes of Romain envisioning his moppet-like childhood self. A dying man entitled to a little self-contemplation, but must it be so literal?

Two scenes stand out: in the first, Romain feels freed, as his father (Daniel Duval) drives him home, to ask difficult questions about family issues they’d always skirted around before, and his father replies with weary and heartbreaking candor. In the second, a waitress (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, from "5×2") approaches Romain in a rest stop restaurant. She will, later in the film, give him the opportunity to father a child, an offer that’s preposterous while also being necessary — the final signpost on Romain’s journey from self-loathing. But for now she simply drawn to him, and sits down with him at the table, a question hovering at her lips, even as he confesses to her that "I’m not a nice person." It’s an odd and exquisite little moment in the slanting afternoon sun in which the film almost stills — but Romain has places to go, and so it ends.

Opens in New York on July 14.

+ "Time to Leave" (Strand Releasing)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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