This idea that time is not really wasted, because the mistakes of youth will form the point of view that is synonymous with art, means something more than that life can function as research, or that life will shape whatever art one makes. It means that without life—without mistakes, experiences, the passage of time—there can be no art. Art is a record of the waste. It holds the waste, and changes it. Its material is time, and it makes time material.


The continual slippage, for the reader of Proust, between the author and the narrator, the impossibility of ever holding them definitively apart, means that [Chantal] Akerman not only gives us, in Simon, a nonheroic Marcel; she gives us a nonheroic Proust. She rejects the idea of lost time redeemed by art. Her work is, by necessity, un- or anti-Proustian: it posits that duration itself can be art.

Christine Smallwood, “Time Unregained”