Arcand scores again

(Canscene) — Denys Arcand’s completion of the trilogy begun with Decline of the American Empire and continued with Barbarian Invasions, departs from the characters that peopled the first two films. In L’age des tenebres (Days of Darkness) he focuses on Jean – Marc Leblanc a $68,000 civil servant and his Walter Mitty like mental escapes into sexual encounters with women.


Jean-Marc, played by Marc Labreche is totally frustrated with his inability to help human rights complainants and numbed at his wife’s success as realtor.

The film is played out with a great sense of the absurd but our ridicule turns to concern for Jean-Marc and the outcome of his growing resentment of life and his family’s attitude toward him.

Denys Arcand chose wisely when he cast a professional comedian in the lead role, played to perfection by Marc Labreche. He is supported by a fine cast including Sylvie Leonard as his ambitious wife and Macha Grenon, as an attractive woman who indulges in similar fantasies to Jean-Marc. She imagines herself to be Beatrice de Savoie, a medieval noblewoman. Jean-Marc attends a joust she has organized with the help of a re-enactment group. But the reality of his participation as a would-be knight which ends in ignominy helps spur him to action.

What will be the outcome of Jean Marc’s predicament? Violence, self-destruction or continued complacency?

I found the ending highly satisfactory and a lesson that all middle aged men should take to heart. Unless we discover for ourselves the true values we should be living by, we’re lost.

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