The third feature film of Giacomo Campiotti, previously the assistant director to Mario Monicelli, Il Tempo Dell'Amore (A Time to Love) is an omnibus film of three different love stories that take place in three different eras and locations. The common element is the theme: love causes a lot of pain.
In the first episode, we are in South Africa at the turn of the century during the Boer war. Martha (Juliet Aubrey), a forty-year-old English woman, is on her way to visit her brother Thomas (Tam Williams), who is in the army, when the train is attacked by Boers. Peter (Ciaran Hinds), an English soldier, saves her life.
This unexpected encounter leads to an impossible love, as Peter happens to be one of Thomas' footsoldiers. In the second story, Paris is under German occupation during the Second World War. Claire (Natacha Regnier), a young French musician, meets Gabriel (Ignazio Oliva), a Russian musician, during a concert performance.
Their passionate love affair has limits because of the linguistic barriers, and what begins well ends in tragedy. In the last episode, we are in present-day Italy. Teenager Guiseppe is in a coma following an accident. His classmates take turns by his bedside, but when summer arrives, they all go away.
Naty (Natalia Piatti), who is much younger than Guiseppe and somewhat of a tomboy, stays behind and visits him regularly, developing an attachment to the boy even though she knows that, when he recovers, he would not look at her.
Il Tempo Dell'Amore tries to create a magical atmosphere in dealing with affairs of the heart, using dreams and nightmares to interpret moods. The first episode is the least successful in terms of building the relationship to its climax. The last episode is the best one, particularly because of excellent acting by Natalia Pitti, who is a natural.
Campiotti co-wrote the script with his partner in his previous film, Like Two Crocodiles, the Russian playwright Alexander Adabachian, who has also worked as a screenwriter for Nikita Mikhalkov. Il Tempo Dell'Amore was in competition at the 1999 Locarno International Film Festival.