Topic “Days of Darkness”

L'Âge des ténèbres/Days of Darkness

Days of Darkness

Last Friday at the movies was a real treat with Denys Arcand's L'Âge des ténèbres (Days of Darkness). It's a wicked social satire about getting lost in middle age, and the story of one Jean-Marc Leblanc, a Quebec civil servant with a soulless, mind-numbing job, emotionally remote family, and penchant for escapist fantasies.

The humour, especially in the first half, really hits the mark. The entire theatre was laughing out loud. The fantasy scenes are genius at revealing Leblanc's character and inner dialog. Far from just sexual, his fantasy relationships also contain an emotional intimacy he can't find in his real world relationships. We're also treated to the lampooning of bureaucracy run amuck with Leblanc's day job.

Although Days of Darkness does an excellent job of capturing the human condition the story had pretensions to a deeper meaning it didn't deliver on. With few exceptions we've all been in a rut, known we're in the rut, but haven't known how to get out of said rut, so there we've unhappily remained. I felt the movie promising me some deep insight about crawling out of ruts, but it didn't deliver. The ending worked, but somehow wasn't satisfying.

And the story ended too early for me! I'd have gladly given up some of the setup, which seemed to go on too long anyway, for a chance to explore Leblanc's family relationships at end. There were hints of things I wanted explored in more detail.

Days of Darkness probably won't hit a theatre near you but check it on DVD if you spot it. Although the story isn't perfect you'll laugh and hopefully enjoy the characters as much as I did.

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